Spring Down and Fall Up


Sunset Over the Delaware River from Logan’s Point at Neshaminy State Park, Eddington, Pa.

Spring back and fall ahead! Wait, that should be spring ahead and fall back. Don’t forget to change your clocks an hour back on the first Sunday of November. Daylight Saving Time (DST) has come to an end for another year in the United States.

The time changed last weekend in England and Europe. Wonder why the difference? The U.S. Congress enacted the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended Daylight Saving Time in 2007 to the present dates: beginning at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and ending on the first Sunday of November.

Prior to that, legislation signed in 1986 dictated the duration of DST, requiring it to begin on the first Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October.  The Uniform Time Act of 1966 deemed DST was to begin on the last Sunday of April, ending on the last Sunday of October.

In January 1974, Richard Nixon signed the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973, which put clocks ahead one hour on January 6, 1974, to remain that way throughout the entire year: one of the best things Nixon did, in this writer’s opinion; although, his executive order to establish the EPA in 1970 was another, and his decision to resign was a third.

However, leave it to Congress to mess things up by amending the aforementioned act, and Standard Time returned on October 27th of the same year, upon which DST resumed on February 23, 1975 and ended on the last Sunday of October, 1975.

Daylight Savings Time has been in standard usage within the United States since World War I, as an effort to conserve fuel for producing electricity. Europe followed Germany and Austria’s initial lead immediately when the latter two advanced the clock one hour on April 30, 1916, until the following October when it returned back. Great Britain followed suit on May 21, 1916, whereby the U.S. adopted the plan formally in March 1918.

After the war, the DST law was so unpopular in the States, due probably to the majority of people’s rising and hitting the sack earlier than we do today, that Congress repealed the act, making Daylight Saving Time a local option, continued in a few states and large cities such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.

Franklin Roosevelt instituted “War Time” during WWII, upon which DST remained year-round from February 9, 1942, to September 30, 1945. From then until 1966, states and localities were free to enact Daylight Saving Time or remain on Standard, creating much confusion throughout the nation, especially for railways, airlines, transit companies, and the broadcasting industry as a whole.

To answer the question from the original premise, the United Kingdom has remained since 1916 with what they call, “British Summer Time,” which follows the standard of beginning on the last Sunday of March, and ending on the last Sunday of October. The rest of Europe has kept that original setup on and off since its inception in 1916.

I remember Daylight Saving Time being used in New Jersey back in the 1950s when I was a tyke, from being late for kindergarten one fall. My father didn’t know my mother had changed the clocks back already on a particular last Sunday of October, and he did so again before going to bed. We were living in River Edge, and for some odd reason my parents enrolled my brother and I at a parochial school in Hackensack that year.

Because of the time incident, the school’s administration found out we weren’t parishioners of that church and forced us to transfer to a school within our own parish in River Edge. What a hassle. Seems I changed schools a lot during my youth, but that’s another story entirely.

What started me on this essay was thinking of mnemonic devices: phrases, poems, sayings used as aids for remembering something like spring up and fall down; er, you know what I mean.

Thirty days has September, April, June and November. All the rest have thirty-one, except for February with only twenty-eight, twenty-nine during leap year. Some things we never forget.

Thanks for your continued support. Hope you enjoyed that extra hour of sleep.

About Mike Slickster

As an early retiree with an honorary doctorate degree from the proverbial "School of Hard Knocks," this upcoming author with a lot of free time on his hands utilizes his expansive repertoire for humorous yet tragic, wildly creative writing that contains years of imaginative fantasy, pure nonsense, classic slapstick, extreme happiness and searing heartbreak; gathered by a wealth of personal experiences throughout his thrilling—sometimes mundane or unusually horrid—free-spirited, rock-'n'-roller-coaster ride around our beloved Planet Earth. Mike Slickster's illustrious quest continues, living now in Act Three of his present incarnation, quite a bit on the cutting edge of profundity and philosophical merriment as seen through his colorful characters, most notably evident in the amusing Thirty Days Across the Big Pond series, all of which can be found at Lulu.com.
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