from Tracey G.
Well, another list that’s going to be really difficult to narrow down to three, after talking to Kris, I have a feeling we’ll have some overlap on these as well! There seems to be at least one or two universal favorites when you’re a kid (or even an adult, I still love office/school/stationery supplies!). So, before I over-think this, here are my narrowed-down-to-three choices:
Lunchbox – Yep, this would be one of my favorite things, probably along with all kids throughout the ages! I can remember a few of my super-faves, like my Speed Buggy lunchbox I think from 1st grade, and my Wonder Woman lunchbox in 5th grade. If I remember correctly, they were all metal until my 5th grade version. Or at least that’s the first one I remember being vinyl!
New Clothes – This I think was something that stuck with me all the way through high school, the annual trip for new clothes! Where I live, there were very few clothing places, so we’d do a little shopping up here (there was a favorite store in a neighboring town I just loved, called Three Sisters, was a wonderland of shopping for little girl! LOL) and then head downstate to the Detroit area to finish – time to hit the malls! Always a good time! Mom & Dad would hand me what felt like a pile of cash and turn me loose, lol. Funny, but the older I’ve gotten, the more I really dislike clothes shopping….
New Crayons – Yep, nothing better than a new box of crayons. Just don’t touch mine. Get your own box.
I really could go on and on, there are lots of other favorite things, and if I really wanted to I could get very detailed, lol. But I reached back to childhood and grabbed the first 3 feel-good-back-to-school items that jumped out at me!
from Kris B.
As I mentioned in a previous post, “back to school” as either a student or a teacher has been part of my life for fifty-two years. When Tracey and I started talking about this post, we realized that there are many perspectives from which we could write – from that as a student, as a teacher, and as a parent getting our own children ready to go back to school.
I have always liked the process of preparing for the start of a new school year, both as a student and as a parent. Getting my girls ready to start school was a little different from it was for me. Through middle school, they wore uniforms to school so there was no serious back to school clothes shopping. The older kid got new uniforms and the younger one got hand-me-downs from her sister. Well, she did get new athletic uniforms because used gym clothes are just yucky! Then there was the shopping for supplies – one of my girls was obsessive about everything matching. If she had a blue folder for math, she also had to a blue binder, a blue book cover, and a blue pencil. Repeat this process with a new color for every subject. I remember the days of getting down to the last needed item and it being out of stock in the necessary color. Back to square zero. Supply shopping became a scavenger hunt of sorts. It was fun for the first few subjects, but could get crazy making! Fortunately, my older daughter could have cared less about school supplies – one notebook for notes from all of her classes and one pen, preferably black, and she was good to go. Woe to the teacher who wanted her to keep a single neat notebook for that class. Yeah, this is the child who made 100’s on all of her work in high school chemistry, but a got a B in the course the first grading period because of “unorganized course materials.”
As I thought about my own back to school favorites, I realized that not much has changed for me in terms of what I like best between when I was a kindergartener and now that I am a professor. I still look forward to the same new things every year.
Here is my list of Three Favorite Back to School Things:
A New Lunchbox – It probably surprises no one that even my favorite thing about school revolves around food. LOL! I think my lunchbox love is coded in my DNA. When I started kindergarten, now 52 years ago, I still remember being incredibly disappointed because I could not carry my lunch to school; therefore, I didn’t need a lunchbox. For some reason, the school had a policy that if you were a “walker,” you could either walk home for lunch or eat a hot lunch in the school cafeteria. Carrying your lunch to school was not an option. To this day, I don’t understand why this was. I’m also not sure why I was so disappointed by this; it’s not like I had ever taken my lunch to school and was losing a familiar routine. I was four and had never even gone to pre-school! It was, however, traumatic in a four-year old sense of traumatic.
In fact, my first playground crush grew out of lunchbox love. My friend, David, would let me carry his lunchbox in the hall since I didn’t have one of my own. His lunchbox was metal, red plaid, and had a silver latch – a true lunch box. Nothing says love like this!
I finally got my own lunchbox in second grade, still metal with a silver latch, but mine had the Peanuts characters on it. And, it came with a thermos! The ones that were held in place by a metal arm in your lunchbox? The breakable ones? The ones that if you accidentally dropped your lunchbox you had milk with glass shards? Do you remember the old thermoses? Those were good times!
Somewhere in junior high, I decided that lunch boxes were uncool and switched to the much cooler brown paper lunch bag. That was cool until I didn’t dry my apple completely when packing my lunch and it got the bag wet causing the bottom to fall out resulting in my lunch being like Hansel and Gretel’s trail of crumbs through the junior high hall. That definitely was not cool! Lesson learned. I went back to a more substantial lunchbox, though one with no characters and no breakable thermos!
To this day, I still pack my lunch every morning before school and I did for my girls as well. There is something about that little bit of home in the middle of the school day. And, I still buy a new lunch box at the beginning of every school year. My younger daughter, the one with the color-coded school supplies, inherited my love of lunch boxes. She is now gainfully employed as a predictive analyst and still packs her lunch in a lunchbox to take to the office. Finding the “perfect” one is a life-long quest for the two of us. We often buy lunch boxes for each other and then discuss their pros and cons. Mother-daughter bonding at its best! When we find THE ONE, we’ll be sure to share our discovery with you!
New Shoes – When I was a kid, new shoes were a big deal! At any given time, I only had two pairs of shoes – school shoes and play shoes, and I knew never to get them mixed up! I got new shoes twice a year. That was it. When I was in elementary school, my school shoes were leather lace-up Buster Brown oxfords. The only thing that changed from year to year was the color – one year brown, one year mahogany, and the best year was the blue ones! They had to be polished regularly. That’s why I couldn’t wear them out to play after school. If I scuffed the toes, they did not last long enough.
Play shoes were canvas Keds. I never really liked them, but when I was a kid, what I liked and what my mom was willing to buy were not always in agreement. In fact, I was guilty of going to play on the swings and dragging my toes in the dirt with the hope of wearing holes in my toes so that I could get a new pair of shoes, preferably not like the ones I had. Sadly, this never worked. I wore beat up shoes until it was time to get a new pair and when I did get, it was another pair of Kids. I was lucky if I got to choose between white and navy blue.
In high school, I got a coveted pair of orange Converse All-Stars. From that point on, there was no turning back. Once I realized that shoes can make or break how I feel about myself, my choice about what I wear on my feet became a serious one!
I’m still a fan a Converse and I could probably get away with wearing them to school even now, but I don’t. Well, I have, but I don’t regularly. (The good thing about teaching in the School of the Arts is that creativity and individuality are appreciated, even in faculty dress. :-)) At this stage in my life, comfort is my primary consideration since my teaching days are six hours straight of standing. Though it is difficult to find just the right shoes, especially since free-standing shoe stores are almost non-existent, I do enjoy the search. These days, I have WAY more than one pair of school shoes and one pair of play shoes. And, the rebel in me does switch them around! Athletic shoes to school and leather shoes on the playground…why not?! Adulting needs to have some privileges!
Pens – I like to write. And I prefer to write by hand rather than typing on the computer. I like to handwrite because I like the feel of pen gliding across paper…but only when I have the right pen. When I was in school, I always wrote with the traditional looking Bic pen – the clear one with the blue cap that had the pointy piece that was intended as a pocket clip. Now I prefer bold tip roller ball and gel pens…black or blue for writing and purple for grading. I have never graded in red because that can have the potential to look like a blood bath on student papers. In my head, purple seems a little less violent.
I do have my favorite brands of each – Pentel Energel 1.0 in purple. And, Tul .07 Rollerball pens for general writing. Nothing fancy!
What I realize is that it really is the simple things in life that lead to a happy school year – a homemade lunch in a new lunch box, comfy shoes, and a pen full of ink.