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Chronicle life’s ‘first’ moments for posterity

The new school year began Monday.

For kindergartners, it was their first day in a traditional classroom setting. For seniors, it was the last first day of high school. For parents, it was a day when they no longer needed to figure out how to keep their children occupied during the summer break. (Just kidding, sorta.)

Regardless of what the day marked for you, it was something to be acknowledged and chronicled for the future.

The first day of a new school year was always a momentous occasion. When I was growing up, it called for a new outfit, new shoes, new lunch box and new school supplies.

My husband and I carried on this tradition for our girls when each new school year started. I recall how excited they were to start each new year and reconnect with friends.

In addition, it provided me an opportunity to reconnect with fellow parents as I often volunteered to chaperone events or help with special activities.

I also recall how, as they got older and the school day began earlier, what a challenge it was to get them out of bed, dressed and out the door.

Though I can’t specifically pinpoint what my first day of school was like, I still remember snippets from my time in kindergarten, including my teacher’s name and what she looked like.

And I have tons of other memories from elementary, junior high, high school and college. They are just not first-day specific.

While I tend to have a pretty good memory overall, I have found that over time it’s the momentous days or events that get remembered the most. That’s probably because the other days were fairly routine and mundane. Or maybe my memory isn’t as good as I think it is.

Nevertheless, I was so proud to see my girls’ accomplishments, especially with exhibits and shows through the fine and performing arts programs. I hoped that my parents felt the same way through the many activities I was involved with.

Now, as each new school year begins and time passes, the memories get a bit hazier.

Fortunately, with the prominence of cellphones and the advanced technology of their cameras, it’s easy to snap a few photographs so you can remember the first day of each new school year for decades to come. Believe me, pictures help sharpen one’s memory.

Not too long ago, I found a big box of old photographs in my garage that I have been threatening to go through and sort for years. I finally made time to do it and memories from the past three decades came flooding back.

There were pictures from my wedding and honeymoon; my husband standing by a sold sign with the Realtor who helped us buy our first house; the garden I planted and replanted in that yard many times; and our first dog when he was just a pup and slept in the box that my kitchen mixer came in.

The pictures were filled with firsts, many of which had been sent to the farthest reaches of my memory.

I still haven’t quite gotten as far as putting the photos I put aside into the frame that I purchased to showcase them, but at least the photos and frames are now within inches of each other. More importantly, they brought back pleasant memories and reminded me that life is filled with plenty of good moments. The first day of school is just one of them.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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