For This CSG Girl, Summer Officially Begins with a Peony Bouquet, “Vacation Song” and the Summer Reading List

As the school year comes to a close, I’ve been thinking about the end-of-the-year awards ceremonies at CSG. As we filed into the gym each year, our anticipation increased. Who would win the cups, trophies and awards recognizing our hard work completing all those difficult assignments?

The traditions of those last-day-of-school programs at CSG were what I enjoyed most. Before being dismissed for the summer, girls in first grade present the senior class with cut-flower bouquets. Peonies from our garden made their way into several of those bouquets every year.

My other favorite part of those proceedings was singing “Vacation Song,” a traditional CSG song with words written by Grace Latimer Jones:

“I have studied my book from September to May,
I have done my work right heartily;
My pen and my book I fling away,
For thoughts of the summer are taking me.”

My summary of Wings on My Feet, Sonja Henie’s autobiography

In my case, thoughts of the summer included how soon I could get started on our summer reading list. To track my progress, I wrote summaries of the books I read. Looking at the strawberry-covered journal that I used to record my summer reading in 1980, I chose Anne of Green Gables and Little Women from the required reading list for rising sixth-graders. Mrs. McCarthy at the Grandview Heights Public Library also recommended several Marguerite Henry books, Thee, Hannah!, In a Blue Velvet Dress, Thimble Summer, Cheaper By the Dozen and its sequel, Belles on Their Toes. I read 27 books that summer!

This summer, CSG girls will be reading some of my favorites, like Rebecca and Middlemarch. They’re also required to read some titles that I’ll be checking out too, like Everybody Bakes Bread, Muggie Maggie and The Eyre Affair.

What’s on your summer reading list this year?

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