I was in Wal-Mart this week to buy some birdseed and passed through a huge section of back to school stuff – backpacks, pencils, notebooks, calculators, lunch boxes and other paraphernalia. The section was like a ghost town. Nobody was shopping because basically there is no back to school. What a shame. I feel sorry for the merchants and I especially feel sorry for the children. They should be going back to school.
All this reminded me was of going back to school many years ago.
Boomers got new clothes 4 times a year – at Easter, on birthdays, at Christmas and at back to school time. I eagerly awaited shopping for new, back to school clothes. My old jeans and shirts were ragged by summer’s end and way too small. I remember Mom insisting that we buy our new clothes one size large, so we’d grow into them. It was a pain, but she was right. What was loose in September fit perfectly in November and was too tight by January.
A back to school shopping expedition usually resulted in about 4 new pairs of jeans, 5 new shirts, a sweater and a jacket – plus socks and underwear.
I can remember to this day the smell of a new pair of denim jeans. That lasted about 1 or 2 washings, then disappeared. I also remember begging to wear some of my new clothes before back to school, but usually without success. Then when we finally broke out the new duds, we were threatened with our lives if we tore holes in the knees of our trousers during a game of “touch” football. We touched alright. We knocked the dickens out of each other and holes in new blue jean knees came quickly. But back then, we had iron-on patches. Who would want to go school with holes in your jeans and knees showing?
Buying school supplies wasn’t a big deal. We needed a few pencils – those with actual erasers and maybe some notebook paper. Nobody had any of those dorky backpacks. You would have been the laughingstock of school. We simply grabbed our books in a bundle and lugged them around. Back to school also meant jockeying for best position in class, which didn’t mean getting close to the teacher, but close to your buddies for note passing.
Back to school meant making new friends, going to bonfires before football games, the smell of leaves burning in the driveway, a new Spalding football, fresh baked cookies in the kitchen and – homework. Not everything about back to school was great, but most was. All kids should be going back to school.