A farm boy's memory of spring break

Jerry Apps
While college classmates fled to warmer climates on spring break, Jerry Apps looked forward to spending the week of the home farm.

This is the time of the year for spring break. When the schools and colleges shut their doors for a week so students and teachers can regroup after a long winter of classes and study.  A popular activity for college students is to trek off to a Florida beach for week of sun and fun away from the snow and cold. 

I remember so well my first year of college (1951-1952), and how I looked forward to spring break. No going to Florida—I had neither interest nor the money to do that. I looked forward to a week on the home farm.  I’ll fess up now—as many people who know me are aware;  My heart has always been in the country, and likely will always be. 

I couldn’t wait for spring break, which in those days was mid-April. I looked forward to hearing the meadowlarks and the mourning doves, and seeing bluebirds and robins. I couldn’t wait to smell newly turned soil, as this was the week when I crawled on our Farmall H tractor and disked and smooth dragged the fields prior to planting oats.

Today, I can still remember the cool mornings, after I helped my dad with the morning milking, ate a big breakfast, and then headed out to the shed for the tractor and a day of having the warm sun on my back while I drove up and back on the twenty-acre field that soon would be oats. No sound of sirens, no traffic sounds. Just the steady drone of the tractor.

After a week of “farming,” I was ready to return to the “big city” refreshed, and ready to endure several more weeks of classes and study before the semester ended, and I could return to the farm for the summer.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS:  Once a farm boy, always a farm boy.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work, go to