Beth Dolinar has been writing her column about life, both hers and the rest of ours, for over 20 years. When not on the page, she produces Emmy-winning documentaries, teaches writing to university students, and enjoys her two growing children.

By the time you are reading this, you might be wearing a sweatshirt or jacket.


You might be able today to pack away your linen pants and your short-sleeved, buttoned shirts and open that giant plastic bin where your sweaters have been sleeping under the bed all summer. According to the forecasters, summer will finally leave us today, and the weather is expected to behave like autumn.

Autumn has been creeping in for a few weeks now; the trees in our side yard are shifting colors. On my evening walk, I notice some of the leaves are getting red tips. A few trees are ahead of the game and have gone all orange.

But the temperature has been lagging behind. On the drive to the city this week, the thermometer in my car read 92. If there were a humidity reading, it would have flashed the same number.

And this presents a problem getting dressed. As of a week ago, I was officially finished with my summer wardrobe, which consisted of the following: four pairs of wide-legged linen pants, four short-sleeved cotton shirts that buttoned either halfway or all the way, two embroidered linen tops, and a long-sleeved cotton sweater in the perfect orange that is my color.

When I purchased the stuff back in May. I was tired of my winter clothing and, like the rest of us, could hardly wait for the sun to return. Those first crocuses that pop through the dirty snow inspire hope, but they also inspire shopping.

I knew I’d be outside a lot this summer, producing outdoorsy documentaries, and my wardrobe reflected it. Pulling out the ironing board and smoothing out all of that linen became a chore as commonplace around here as loading the dishwasher.

And then somewhere around Sept. 15, I looked at that basket of wrinkled clothing and thought, I just can’t.

Overnight, my summer wardrobe that served me so well in July had suddenly turned sad and wilted.

“Ninety degrees today, are they serious?” I whined as I removed yet another shirt and tossed it into the heap of rejects on the bed. Foolishly I was expecting things to improve as I tried-and-failed my way through all my summer clothing. Finally, frustrated, I rebelled and put on a pair of black wool pants and a long-sleeved polyester sweater. By the time I grabbed my keys to walk out the door, I was so soaked in perspiration I returned to the battle room and put on the only summer clothing still hanging in the closet. I arrived at work rumpled.

I think we all go through this the first week of October every year. It’s almost like we forget that summer is stubborn around Western Pennsylvania.

It reminds me of all those first days of school when I was a kid. We’d all show up in class in our new outfits – wool plaid skirts and jeans and boots. I don’t remember anyone fainting from the heat. I’ll go with science here, and say there’s our global warming.

Yesterday, I opened my box of sweaters. My favorite one is gray with a black lightning bolt across the front. There’s also a wool sweater in my perfect pine green and my ridiculous collection of eight black and navy V-necks. I was happy to put them on the top shelf of the closet.

Even better was the part where I packed all that stupid linen into the empty box and slid it back under the bed. Good riddance, until next year.

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