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School’s Out for Summer

School’s Out for Summer

The words every student up and down the Susquehanna Valley couldn’t wait to hear. I’ve been out of school longer than I care to admit, but that phrase still brings a smile to my face. I must also give Alice Cooper credit for the kickoff-to-summertime anthem of the same words. Although I don’t know if many young folks know that tune today, the title is officially School’s Out for anyone who wants to Google it.

Think back to those days when things were free and easy as you settled into your 3-month vacation from the classroom. June was always the best month because the thought of going back to school had not even crept into your mind yet. Then came July when you were starting to think about how summer was going by way too fast, only one month left. By August you were still happy, but the thought of back to school had you counting down the days.

The World has changed so much from back in the day. Most couldn’t wait to get out of school and be outside from sunup to sundown. In today’s world, smartphones, video games, and electronic devices often hold children in a trance within the walls of their house. Please make sure that’s not happening at your home.

The other big difference is the mode of transportation; it used to be a Huffy or Schwinn or whatever bike was at your disposal. If you didn’t have a bike, it was the old heel-toe express. In the world of today young folks seem to require a ride wherever they go.

This might be rightfully so because the world around young people has definitely changed from my day including the amount of traffic. Way back when nobody seemed to worry about riding a bike on the streets of Southside or even across the Market Street Bridge over to Williamsport. It was like a rite of passage. I remember those days when Kevin Lyons, Chris Sullivan and I would ride our bikes over to the Curtin Junior High School for summer basketball. Of course, we would avoid the Walkway to Nowhere off the Market Street Bridge — that just took way too long. Did I mention those summer basketball games sometimes tipped off at 8 in the morning? A tip of the cap to former Millionaire Coach Pete White for providing a fantastic summer league.

After our game, we would ride back across the bridge and play speedball, wiffle ball, or some more hoops at the St. Lawrence playground. This would take us up to lunchtime when we hit the Humdinger. A half ham cosmo, bag of chips and drink cost 2 bucks. Your wallet of the day was your tube socks up to your knees, which you neatly folded and tucked those two George Washingtons in.
A special thanks to Mr. John Agnoni and his staff at the Humdinger for taking such great care of us. If that 2 bucks somehow fell out of your sock, he would make sure you didn’t go hungry. You could always catch up with him the next day.

I hope I brought back some summertime memories to you from your childhood. This is where we have to move into the present and talk about the second half of the school’s out saying. You remember the posters — “School’s Out Drive Safely!” Kids will be kids, and their focus always isn’t on what’s going on around them. In the world of modern-day distractions and crowded roadways, it’s up to us to look out for that young boy or girl that might have been us back in the day. Please put the cell phones down, keep those eyes on the road, and anticipate that young person darting out in front of you.

It only takes a split second for that accident to occur, and at that point, it really doesn’t matter whose fault it was. We have all had close calls, from behind the wheel and as a pedestrian.

While we’re talking about the highways, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all the construction going on. It doesn’t matter if you’re crossing the Montoursville Bridge — and no they’re not painting it half maroon and half blue — on Interstate 180 or 80, or on the two-lane street right in your neighborhood, there is infrastructure work going on everywhere. Please give our highway workers a break. They are our friends, neighbors, and in many instances, family, and have a very difficult job to do. There is constant danger around every work site. One thing is also for sure, they will never run out of work. I can’t wait till they get the section of West 4th Street done from Dunkin Donuts to Williamsport High School. Wow, is that a rough ride. Also, remember law enforcement will be out in full force monitoring the construction zones.

Last, but not least, I feel I should touch upon water safety. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pool, pond, river, lake, or creek it only takes an instant for a child to be drawn to water. It’s just what kids do in the summertime. Please keep your eyes wide open and do not become distracted while cooling off for the summer.

For those who have a pool at home, please make sure it’s secure and don’t lose track of the little munchkins. We have all heard that story way too many times of while the parent was making lunch or doing the laundry, meanwhile, the child found their way into the pool. A secure pool area is not only important for your children but all those living in the neighborhood.

Let’s be careful out there folks, and have a safe and happy summer!

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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