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It Used to be the Day After Labor Day

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Jojo sat on the curb of the dusty playground and picked sand rubies from the handful of sand she'd scooped up. She loved sand rubies and their tiny red shininess. She wondered if she could glue them to her new sneakers. She thought of the pictures in the new magazine her grandma had just bought at the grocery store, the ones with all the children going back to school.  There was a picture of a little girl with brown hair like hers, in braids tied with ribbon, wearing knee socks and a red cardigan sweater, walking on a street shaded by golden leaves.  Jojo looked up to see a dust devil forming in the playground and all the boys running into it and with arms open wide. She wondered why boys were so stupid, and if she'd ever get to wear a red cardigan sweater on this first day of school.

—Linda Dobbyn

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