It’s The 1st Day Of No School!

Like many Westporters, Tommy Greenwald and Cathy Utz long marked today — the 1st day of school — as a milestone on the annual calendar.

For 15 years, the couple watched their 3 boys — Charlie, Joe and Jack — move through the local schools. Each year they grew older, bigger, more independent. But the 1st day of school was always special.

This year is special too. Tommy and Cathy — themselves products of the Westport system — no longer have a child heading off to school here.

To celebrate/mourn, Tommy — author of the very popular “Charlie Joe Jackson” book series for young readers — wrote this poem. Enjoy/contemplate this “06880” exclusive.

Charlie, Joe and Jack Greenwald, back in the day.

Charlie, Joe and Jack Greenwald, back in the day…

It’s here! It’s finally here!
The first day of school!
The first day of the year!

There’s so much to do.
Try not to make a fuss.
And we can’t miss the school bus!

But wait.
Something is different this year.
Where are the children?
They’re not here!

There are no children to wake.
And no lunches to make.

That’s right!
They’re all grown!
Off to college, or other adventures all their own.

...and Charlie, Jack and Joe Greenwald  more recently.

…and Charlie, Jack and Joe Greenwald more recently.

So now what?
What do you do?

Do you sit around and mope?
Give up hope?
Possibly even bawl?

Absolutely not!
Well, maybe for a day or two.
You’re only human, after all.

But after that, enough.
Time to get tough.
Time to see what this can truly mean.
Peace. Quiet. Freedom. A house that’s truly clean!

A love to renew.
That long-delayed dream you can finally pursue.
That promise to yourself you can finally keep.
Or maybe just a good night’s sleep.

Just try to remember, whatever you choose.
This is honestly, truly good news.

Indeed, it’s time for the children to go.
Because guess what? Now it’s your turn to grow.

Cathy Utz and Tommy Greenwald drop their 3rd son, Jack, at college. They're now empty nesters!

Cathy Utz and Tommy Greenwald drop their 3rd son, Jack, at college. They’re now empty nesters!

14 responses to “It’s The 1st Day Of No School!

  1. David Schaffer

    I think Cathy Utz rode my schoolbus in the late 1970s, would that time align?

  2. brookelove15



  3. Charlie Greenwald

    Great poem Dad!

  4. Love it! Thanks for sharing. It is a bittersweet moment seeing the school buses this morning….

  5. What a nice picture inside the beautiful Elon campus. Was there myself this weekend. Yes, bittersweet indeed hearing the HS seniors honking their horns down North Ave this morning.

  6. Remember Tommy Greenwald as a very friendly kid at Bedford Jr High school…. long ago. Great post !! Enjoy the empty nest !

  7. Ellen Lautenberg

    Well said! I just sent off a college Freshman and still have a junior at SHS but I love the positive tone in the end!

  8. Tommy–since, with kids at home, you were able to co-author a popular series of young adult novels while working as a top creative exec at a leading Broadway marketing agency, I can’t to see your level of productivity with the empty nest (and, of course, with the Yankees now mired in perpetual mediocrity, thus sparing you from spending time watching the Bronx Bombers on TV).

    I really like the poem; my only criticism here is your choice of madras shorts and sneakers with black socks while dropping Jack off at college. (On the other hand, perhaps that’s how Harvard students commonly dressed during your student days in Cambridge.)

  9. That should be: “I can’t wait to see…”

  10. Also, sorry, I meant to say “author a popular series…”

  11. Nancy W Hunter

    Very Dr. Seuss — Oh, The Places You’ll Go! A good read for students, graduates, and even more so for Empty Nesters.

  12. Suzanne Salamone

    What a lovely, bittersweet poem….Thank you for sharing!

  13. This the first start of school that I can remember without a Greenwald boy saying good morning to me as he entered the building. Each was different but each had the same qualities of kindness, sincerity, openness, and friendliness. They each helped make Staples better each year. I miss them.