Bridging the Generations to School

When I was a kid, we had long summer vacations from school. We were usually out by the first week of June, and went back the first weekday after Labor Day, (which was not yet a Monday Holiday and always fell on September third).

Sometimes, if we had a great deal of snow (and therefore, ‘snow days’ to make up),  the school year lasted a little longer, but we never went back any sooner.

Our schools were very strict, but we learned well. Going to school in obligatory dresses was easy at the beginning of the year, but much colder and harder in the winter. We’d go clothes shopping in late August. I’d start the year with three new dresses, a new slip and a new pair of shoes and new socks. My brother got new shoes, sneakers, socks, two good pairs of pants, a pair of jeans and three new shirts. My sister got the three dresses and more clothes,(dresses or skirts and blouses), being older.

More clothes would be added later for all of us as they were needed, or when my mother found something nice at a good price. The ritual-shopping usually took place at Robert Hall’s (remember that one?). Later clothes  were often found at Lerner’s or someplace snazzy that had a good clearance.

I had to wait until the first day of school to get a list of supplies the teachers expected us to have.; we had to copy them by hand. Some of it could be bought at the school store.

I still remember how it felt to walk the mile or so to my elementary school. When we visited my old neighborhood a couple of summers ago, I walked the path from the school and across the wooden footbridge which ran next to a wooded area and ended between houses. There was another long stretch of sidewalk through the housing development down to my house, but I skipped going that far.


When I went back the next year, I took my grandson and had him walk the path and bridge.

(When I was alone on the bridge, I heard voices. I leaned over and I spoke to the teens who were hanging out there. I felt ancient when they were awed that I was walking the bridge after fifty years!)

Now that I am back in the eastern part of the country, every once in a while with the heat and humidity, I the smell of the Honeysuckle, Maple trees and other regional flora, and it brings back the memories of either the first days or the last days school.
They are good feelings.

My favorite beginnings of school had been with my grandkids. Here the supply lists for classes are available before term starts and I truly enjoyed buying their school supplies. I always said that if I won a lottery, I was to be kept away without from several places, and the first on the list would be stationery stores, (and bookstores, of course!)

Now that my grandson has only been in town for the Summers  visiting  me and to his mother’s house. I grab him at one point and load him up with school supplies to take back to his dad’s with him. He’s starting his sophomore year, and I still insisted on taking him out to buy  whatever we could think of that he might need. (We did a really good job; it set me back nearly $100.00.)

I also still take advantage of the big sales at the start of the year and when any of the kids show up in the middle of the year and need spiral notebooks, folders, report covers, theme books, etc., they know that I have them on hand.

The cookie jar isn’t the only thing that’s full at Grandma’s house!


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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4 Responses to Bridging the Generations to School

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    I think it’s cool that you stock up on supplies for school. Because, of course, many of those are also WRITING supplies.
    I sense wistful memories about that long trek to the Elem. Sch. — despite the distance involved.
    Yet, today, I doubt any parent would allow a young child to venture that far, alone, through what seemed to be pretty isolated.
    Ahh, for the good old days when — for the most part — children were considered basically safe unless they were playing in traffic!


    • Actually, the woods that were along side of our school path is now a thinned-out park with pathways.It was actually dangerous when I was going to school because of a neighborhood teenage offfender.It was another world.


  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I always walked to school, too – but my walk was only about five blocks (my school district was and is quite small, and there were no buses). My own kids walked three blocks – I insisted on purchasing a home that was walking distance to school, since the thought of putting my five-year-old on a bus scared me! I remember hearing about Robert Hall stores, but I don’t think there were any near us. I did shop at Lerner’s when I was in high school. It’s fun to see those older brand names.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have an inordinate amount of school-bus involved accidents where I live now. It really bothers me that I live in fear when I take someone I know to the store.She has on-going pain from a shoulder injury, and cannot wear a seal belt.I can be ticketed, but no seat belts for kids on the buses. In fact, one mother here used to pick up her 3rd grader from school on a motorcycle.They OKed it, as long as he wore a helmet!


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