If we needed to take books home to complete some homework, we carried them in our hands. No computers, tablets or cellphones. There was a bit of clothing shopping done and maybe a new pair of shoes. Our sleeping and morning schedules were slowly changed so that we had time for breakfast and to catch the school bus in a timely manner.
It wasn’t so difficult to be ready for the start of school by Labor Day. I sure remember the Labor Day 1963. That August I turned 21; I could go to a bar and vote, and I became a school bus driver. I was attending evening classes at Indiana Central College and working at our family service station business. I had a junior high and a high school route that went to Southport and a grade school route to Edgewood and Riley.
This past Labor Day was the 50th anniversary of my participation in the NHRA National drag races in Clermont, Ind. Some of my friends and I put together a 1960, nine-passenger Ford station wagon that we raced several times throughout that season. We accumulated enough winning points to be invited to race in the Nationals.
What an amazing four days. Sept. 7 was a special day as it was my late father’s birthday. The beginning of September was always busy for us as we had so much going on. Several years ago I stopped into the Southside Animal Shelter and met a young canine named Stuart. We hit it off quickly, and he was a member of our family before the day was over.
The folks at the shelter told me that Stuart was about 1 ½ years old. That year we celebrated his second birthday Sept. 7 because I figured I’d never forget Dad’s birthday. Stuart’s 14th birthday was last week. He has let it be known to everyone that because the ratio of dog to human years is around 7-to 1, dog birthdays should be known as dog “birth weeks.”
Stuart received many birthday wishes from his Facebook friends, and he allowed me to read some of them. He even received a hand delivered singing birthday card, which was driven to our house by a former congressman from Alaska.
Boy was Stuart impressed and surprised. I’m sure that we will make a few more trips to Ritter’s to celebrate his birth week. This week is also going to be exciting. We have been invited to birthday parties and weddings. Also, my high school class is having its yearly reunion. Plus, one of Stuart’s favorite events is this weekend - the Beech Grove Fall Festival. It is so much fun for him to reconnect with student/ friends who have read to him over the years at various Beech Grove Schools.
Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools.