All across the country, kids are getting ready to go back to school. Some start tomorrow, some not until after Labor Day. My own rascals have two more weeks left of freedom and they have mixed emotions. As for me, I was a geek. I loved this time of year. Mostly because of the shopping.
Growing up, this was the one time of the year where I experienced the closest thing to “Shop ‘Til You Drop.” (For the record, I have NEVER dropped because my money always ran out first.) As a kid, my mom would tell me how much I was allowed to spend on school clothes. Talk about heaven! That is until we got home, when I’d discover my younger sister had a lot more stuff than I did. Nope, Mom wasn’t secretly doling out more cash to her. My sister was a better bargain shopper. Me? I shopped with glee and splurged on what I liked, which was usually whatever the mannequin wore. Forget buying the basics. I had to have that statement piece to wear on the first day of school. But my sister? She was practical. She had clothes to get her through most of the school year whereas I had to make do with my old stuff. Luckily for me in our high school years, we were about the same size and I notoriously borrowed her stuff. Sometimes I even returned it too!
Then there were the school supplies. Back in my day, students didn’t have to buy much. A notebook, paper, pens and pencils. Maybe a lunchbox, but definitely no backpacks. Hello! Junior high! A gal needed a stack of books to carry in front of her, ahem, growing
chest. Or to conveniently drop in case that cute guy was approaching in the hopes he’d stop to help you pick them up so your hands could oh-so-casually brush his. Or to hide behind whenever the stuck-up girl from your bus made fun of your new outfit that you thought was so cool on the first day of school. And if you had a plain old boring backpack, then there’d be no need for snazzy purses, and well…that’s just criminal in junior high.
Even as a teacher I loved back to school shopping. While I’d moan and groan about how much I’d spend in the office supply stores, secretly I enjoyed every minute of it. I’d buy the mack daddy pencil sharpener and heavy duty binders, swearing that this year I’d be more organized. It was kind of like New Year’s Resolutions for the academic set.
Now that my own kids are getting ready to go back to school, I’m excited for a different reason. Sure, I still like the shopping even if I’m only footing the bill, but the real
reason is the hours of uninterrupted (hopefully) writing time. Time to write about high school heroines and the cute guys who catch their eyes.