Editor’s Notes

Try to rememberů

…the thrill of September.

By Mary Ruth Yoe

Photography by Dan Dry

On the third Wednesday in August, my younger brother arrived at his breakfast table and broke into a heartfelt rendition of a Christmas oldie, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Only the lyrics had been changed—marking parental joy at the first day of a new school year for his ten-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter. No more juggling of summer camps, lessons, sports, and jobs. There was more: big sister would be driving little brother to school—news that marked the passing of time and made me realize it would be the first September in 20 autumns that I haven’t seen a child off to school, whether kindergarten or college.

Gone is the bright promise of a Sesame Street lunch box and a backpack that dwarfs its owner. Gone, too, is the thrill of a tiny, shiny iPod, “free” with a MacBook purchase. While there’s no denying the feeling of parental accomplishment, a.k.a. parental pride and relief, losing one’s front-row seat at an annual rite of passage is a blow.

But walking east along 56th Street in late August, on my way back from checking progress on the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery (lots of hard hats conferring busily) and the Mansueto Library (now a big hole to the west of the Reg), I watched as members of Chicago’s athletics teams—families, electronics, and bedding in tow—moved into Palevsky Residential Commons. And I remembered one of the most important fringe benefits of working at a university: a front-row seat at an annual rite of passage. The kids aren’t mine, but the anticipation is here, September after September.