This time every year, I get a little nostalgic thinking about what it was like to be in elementary school anticipating the first day of school. In fact, I still get that “butterflies in the stomach” feeling.
Here are the top things I remember…
Going shopping with my mother for back to school clothes. She always wanted me to have shoes to match every outfit. I think I mostly wore jumpers.
School supply shopping at Skillern’s. My siblings were so much older than me that when it was time for back to school shopping I think Mother was over it. She would give me money and I would walk down to the local drug store and make my purchase. Manilla paper, always a new wooden ruler (even though I had a drawer full of them at home), a yellow supply box, glue paste and newsprint type tablets with lines to practice our penmanship were the most memorable. In the 70’s the Trapper Keeper was the go-to for girls that were organized (of course with a cute kitten on the cover).
I think I always bought my lunch, because I don’t remember carrying a lunch box. Eating in the cafeteria is where I get my love of anything wrapped in waxed paper – grilled cheese (the cheese was only slightly melted) in a warming drawer, cold cartons of milk, and handing the lady 35 cents for my lunch.
P.E. Hated it. Coach Fletcher. Why would anyone have him as a gym teacher? He wasn’t motivational. He yelled. The President’s Physical Fitness Test. Who cared whether I did 900 sit ups, 45 push ups, 50 chin ups or could run a mile in 30 seconds? “Who is this guy and I want to give him a piece of my mind” I remember thinking. Sweating is not pretty especially when you are trying to re-dress in a wool jumper and tights.
Rainy mornings where we had to gather in the auditorium before the bell rang. The simple moments celebrating George Washington’s birthday by passing around sour cherries. Weekly readers like “See Jane Run.” Making Christmas ornaments with tin foil and cardboard stars. Walking home from school wondering what snack I was going to whip up in the kitchen. And the innocence of it all.
Here’s to all the children out there nervous about your first day of school, and the wonderful teachers greeting them…
“You’re off to great places. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting so get on your way!” Dr. Seuss