22 October 2015

Burning Schoolbooks


That's my mom's favorite word to describe her children. Our greatest fear is the fear of boredom and normality.

Somewhere along the way, we started a tradition of having a bonfire on the beach made out of the pages of our schoolbooks at the end of every school year and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the ashes of a year's worth of academic toil.

Do you actually need lighter fluid to start a bonfire composed of paper? Probably not.

We just wanted to be really sure that they would burn.

We would invite all of our dearest friends to these bonfires, and as workbooks and notebooks went up in flames we'd dance around the fire singing, "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me..." in the style of Elizabeth Swann and Captain Jack Sparrow.

We might carry back a few cooked hot dogs later on to those who opted to remain inside the house--Mom and Dad and the baby, none of whom were the beach bonfire fans that we were.

It actually takes a long time, and lots of busy hands, to tear up an entire year's worth of school notebooks for 6 students.

Some might argue that it's useful to keep your school notes from year to year. Those people would be nerds.

I'll have you know that even in college, I maintained this tradition, though I had to swap a romantic beach along the Indian Ocean for a bonfire pit in a backyard in the Michigan countryside. So it's not necessarily true that you have to hold on to notes even from undergrad. I burned mine and I'm surviving just fine.

We'd sit and chat and burn things until after the sun set, and then we'd douse the ashes with a couple buckets of water, cover them with sand, and wander back home, heeding (to a greater or lesser extent) Mom's commands not to track sand all over the house--this usually required hosing ourselves off in the driveway.

There would be a lot less drama, and far fewer memories, if we'd just dumped those notebooks in the trash or stored them in boxes under the bed. I prefer the bonfire.

{This is Day 23 in my Write 31 Days Series: 31 Days of Growing Up in Malaysia}
Tayler Morrell said...

I've actually never done this before, but I want to!

Charlene Maugeri said...

What a fun tradition! I am actually one of those nerds who keeps everything! I bet you I could find notebooks from every year of my schooling in my mom's basement. I don't think I ever looked back on anything after a school year was over, but I had them just in case I needed too. Wow, you're right! I am a nerd. lol I wish now that I'd had a fun tradition like this but I don't think I could have ever brought myself to do it.

Suzanne said...

Ha ha! I honestly never thought of doing this but it does make for quite a tradition.


Unknown said...

This makes perfect sense, and I totally should have done it in college. I *hated* trying to resell my old textbooks for pennies because the publisher releases a new edition every year. Let 'em burn! :D

Unknown said...

This looks really cool! It's creative and makes me want to try it when I have kids!

grtlyblesd said...

My kids would love that!

Paige @ Reasons to Come Home said...

Reading these stories makes me want to just join your family! Always so much fun!