Posted tagged ‘school supplies’

“I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”

August 31, 2017

Today is a delight. The humidity is still among the missing. The morning was even a bit chilly. I wished I had a sweatshirt on when I was outside waiting for Gracie. It rained all Tuesday night into Wednesday early afternoon but then the sun came out and the rest of the day was lovely. I hung around the house yesterday and finally did the laundry. It has made it upstairs only as far as this floor, but I still feel accomplished.

The kids around here go back to school next week, the day after Labor Day. It was also when I went back to school. I complained every year because that is the responsibility of kids the world over, but I didn’t really care. By the end of the summer I had run out of things to do. I was bored though I would never have admitted it.

On the weekend before going back to school, I checked out all my school supplies again and again. I sharpened my pencils and loaded and unloaded my school bag. I used to carry it with the strap across my chest, and I’d check out the look in the mirror.

I got to wear a new outfit on the first day of school, the only day of no uniforms. My mother would lay out our outfits on our beds. New clothes and new shoes were special.

On the schoolyard, I’d see my school friends for the first time since the summer had begun. When the bell rang, a hand bell rung by a nun, we’d go into the building but not in lines. Those would start the next day after we had found our classrooms and classmates. There were two classes of every grade, each with 40 or more students. One class got a nun while the other class didn’t. The nuns by their very natures kept us quiet and attentive. We didn’t dare do otherwise. The not nun teachers were just as strict. We all knew the being attentive position. It was sitting at our desks with our hands folded on top of it.

After the first few days, school became routine. We were back in uniform. Bells ruled our lives. We entered and left the school in lines. We did homework. It was a long way until June.

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“The uniform makes for brotherhood, since when universally adopted it covers up all differences of class and country.”

August 29, 2017

Yesterday was a lazy day. I watered the newly planted flowers and took a shower. That’s it for the day except for the two naps I had. My mother would have said I must have needed the sleep. Today, however, will be different. It is the dreaded laundry day. It’s not the doing but the carrying I hate, the lugging of all that laundry up two flights of stairs. I do it in shifts: one flight, a pause then the other flight. Sometimes the pause lasts a day. The laundry sits on the rocking chair glaring at me.

The day is cloudy and a bit dark. I felt chilly so I shut the windows. It is only 67˚ and won’t get much higher. What happened to the dog days of August?

I remember late summer and school shopping with my mother. The first stop was always the shoe store. My mother had to drag the four of us though only my brother and I needed new shoes. My sisters were still young and didn’t go to school yet. At the store, they’d measure our feet with that silver slide and then have us put each foot, one at a time, into the x-ray machine. I always thought it was so neat seeing the x-ray of the bones in my feet. My mother bought sturdy shoes for us hoping they’d last a while. The next stop was for new uniform clothes. I needed white blouses, a blue wool skirt and a blue cowboy looking tie. My brother needed white shirts and a blue tie. The Children’s Corner, a clothing store up town, carried the uniforms. Uptown was sort of close so we’d walk. My mother bought me a few blouses but only a single skirt. She’d also buy a couple of long-sleeve shirts for my brother. From there we’d head to my favorite stop, Woolworth’s, for school supplies. I got to pick out my pencil case, lunch box and school bag. We’d buy crayons, always Crayola, glue and pads of paper, the ones with the Indian chief on the front. I was so excited with all the purchases and was thrilled to carry the bag home.

When I was working at the high school, I used to call my mother this time of year and asked her when she was taking me school shopping. My mother would laugh, and that was her only response. I hoped for more, shoes at least.

“Summer has filled her veins with light and her heart is washed with noon.”

August 28, 2016

Today is another lovely day, sunny and not too humid. We will be cooler here with an ocean breeze keeping us in the high 70’s. Tonight should be even cooler.

The house next door isn’t rented, the first time all summer. I think it’s because many schools start this coming week so vacation is over. The TV has been filled with ads for back to school clothes and supplies. Parents are rejoicing.

Last night was movie night. We watched a 1957 black and white science fiction movie called The Beginning of the End. It was wonderful. The giant grasshoppers, the locust, are destroying whole towns and are headed for Chicago. The hero, a scientist, and the heroine, a newspaper woman, bravely counter the onslaught. She wears a lot of hats and carries petite purses. He stays impeccably dressed and his sharply pleated pants never wrinkle. The movie was quite entertaining. It also made us laugh.

Yesterday I went to the Italian cheese shop and bought goodies for last night: crostini, Taleggio, a soft cheese, and prosciutto. My next stop was the candy store for chocolates and fudge. My friends brought hummus and a hot cheese dip. We dined lavishly as we watched the movie.

Today is a day of rest. Gracie and I need to go to the dump, but that can wait until tomorrow. The day is so lovely we’ll be outside on the deck. Gracie will sleep in the shade, and I’ll sit at the table to finish reading the papers then I think I may just nap on the lounge. Thinking about it is making me yawn.

“Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day. It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken.”

September 1, 2014

Last night around midnight I was in bed watching a movie on my iPad when all of a sudden the room lit up. That was the beginning of the thunder and lightning and the torrential rain. The thunder was loud and long-lasting. The rain was so heavy I could hear the drops plunking my air conditioner in a constant rat-a-tat. I got out of bed to look out the window at the storm. I watched for a long while. The wind was whipping the oak branches back and forth and the backlash from the rain hitting the overhang came in the window. I didn’t mind. The storm was exhilarating.

Today is humid and ugly. It is an August day, the sort we usually suffer through each summer but not this year when August days, weather defined, have been noticeably missing. The sun managed to break through for a short time earlier but disappeared and left behind a cloudy, darkish day. It is very still and quiet.

Labor Day was always the last day of summer vacation when I was a kid. It meant a week day bath, setting out my new clothes and arranging the supplies in my school bag. The arranging took the most time as I would put the supplies in then take them out to look at them then put them back in a different arrangement. My mother would put our new lunch boxes on the counter and have them open and ready for packing in the morning. She made us go to bed earlier than we had all summer, but we didn’t fall asleep any earlier. I remember lying in bed thinking about the next day. I was excited about school starting.

My mother woke us up, and we were grumpy because of the early hour. She made us eat breakfast first then we got dressed, grabbed our book bags and lunch boxes and left for school. My friend Michelle and I always walked together. We were a little anxious getting to school on that first morning, but the nervousness wore off quickly because every day after that was always the same. The only thing that changed was my sandwich and the dessert.