Ring, Ring Goes the Bell

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It’s been many years (I won’t reveal exactly how many) since I had to worry about finding my classroom and meeting new teachers on the first day of school. Yet, that first-day-of-school apprehension returns to me every year about this time.

Well, not exactly this time of year. In the pre-electronic, pre-backpack days when I walked to school, class didn’t start until the Thursday after Labor Day. So it’s not exactly the date that causes my stomach to get queasy, but the signs that say school is open and all of the activity that I see on campuses.

Most schools in Shasta County and elsewhere in California are opening this week, including the brand new Redding School of the Arts, just off Shasta View Drive. I’m sure parents are celebrating, even if the teachers aren’t. I’m not a parent, a teacher or a kid, so I can’t figure out why I have any emotions at all about school reopening.

Way back when, some of my school friends claimed that they enjoyed school and looked forward to the first day – unfathomable thoughts to me. No, I didn’t like grammar school, and I liked high school even less. All of those hours in the classroom and the homework really cut into my time for more important things, like playing baseball in the street, watching Monkees re-runs and, as I grew older, listening to music that annoyed my parents and our neighbors.

These days, I don’t even own a baseball glove, I wouldn’t know where to find Monkees re-runs on TV, and I don’t have to worry about turning down the stereo. But it still feels like my freedom slips away whenever the school year begins.

Maybe it’s the fact that the start of school means the end of summer. Around here, we still have weeks of hot weather remaining and more than two months before the cold rain sets in. Still, when the school bell tolls, it’s a reminder that the sunny days and warm summer evenings won’t last forever.

One of these days, I’ll find my endless summer. In the meantime, I’m thankful for no math homework.

On today’s A La Carte menu:

For those who like school … The Shasta County Board of Education is seeking candidates to complete the term of Susan Wilson, who resigned from the board last month after serving since 1992. Wilson is now executive director of the Youth Violence Prevention Council. Candidates must live within the Enterprise, Grant, Redding or Shasta Union elementary school districts. The board is scheduled to interview candidates in September and then select an appointee who will serve until the November 2012 election. Letters of application are due by 4 p.m. on August 26 at the Shasta County Office of Education, 1644 Magnolia Avenue, Redding. For more information, call the Office of Education at (530) 225-0227.

The business of business … Redding members of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and small business owners are scheduled to host state Sen. Doug LaMalfa and Assemblyman Jim Nielsen from noon to 2 p.m. this Friday, August 19, at Michael’s Furnishings, 5138 Caterpillar Road, in Redding. Also scheduled to speak is John Kabateck, executive director of the NFIB’s California chapter. Attendees will have the opportunity to talk with their elected representatives and learn about NFIB’s legislative priorities. The gathering is free, but advance registration is required. To learn more or to register, contact Lauren Zahedani of NFIB at (916) 448-5442 or Zahedani@nfib.org.

Bike night at the raceway … Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico will host its annual kids bike night this Friday, August 19. Kids 11 and younger get into the races for free, and those who bring their bicycles can pedal around the quarter-mile dirt oval with other kids in their age group. The speedway will also be giving away two kids bikes and a bunch of other goodies. The evening’s auto racing features sprint cars, modifieds and three classes of stock cars. Gates open at 6 p.m., with auto racing starting about 7:30. Young bike riders will take to the track during intermission.

Siskiyou fair races forward … Congratulations to the Siskiyou Golden Fair and the fairgrounds’ Siskiyou Motor Speedway on the Interstate Sprint Car Series race during last week’s fair. The race attracted a competitive field of 25 racecars, as well as drivers from four states and Alberta, Canada – including feature event winner Kyle Larson, a Red Bluff outlaw kart graduate and one of the hottest short-track racers in the United States. By far the largest crowd I’ve ever seen at the one-third-mile dirt oval was on hand for what was surely one of the biggest races in the track’s 60-year history. Let’s do it again next year.

shigley-mugshotPaul Shigley is a freelance journalist based in Western Shasta County, CA, and wonders how old you have to be to recognize a Chuck Berry reference. He may be reached atpauls.anewscafe@gmail.com.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment.

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has been a professional journalist since 1987. For 12 years, he served as editor or senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a statewide trade publication for land use planners, real estate development professionals and attorneys. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter or editor at newspapers in Redding, Grass Valley, Napa and Calistoga. Shigley's work also has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Planning magazine, Governing magazine, California Law Week, National Speed Sport News and elsewhere. In addition, he is co-author of Guide to California Planning, a college text and reference book, and is currently working on a book for the American Planning Association about the Bay Delta and California water resources. A graduate of California State University, Sacramento, Shigley has contributed to A News Cafe since 2009. He and his wife, Dana, live in western Shasta County.
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2 Responses

  1. Avatar rmv says:

    Thank you Paul for a wonderful remembrance of the OPENING DAYS!

    I loved school, but WHATEVER our remembrance,

    it helped bring us to where we are TODAY! 🙂

    I guess it might help to recognize a Chuck Berry

    reference, if your age, or maybe better if my age? 🙂

    GOD BLESS AMERICA !!

  2. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Wonderful article. When I was young, the first day of school meant getting to see other people and be part of the world. During the summer we were pretty isolated in the canyon AND had no TV. I think many of my students find school to be a cleaner, safer, more predictable and interesting place than home.