Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to School

I took my younger son, Gregory, to college on Tuesday; luckily for me, he'll be attending CU, as a jazz studies major (saxophone), also fitting in computer science courses where he can. Classes start for him, and for me, on Monday. So school bells are starting to ring! One of my friends was reduced almost to (happy) tears because her 23-year-old son is going back to school and just went out and bought himself some NOTEBOOKS. What is more redolent of back-to-school than the purchase of promising new notebooks?

When I was growing up in New Jersey, my usually frugal mother would have her only shopping spree of the year, taking my sister and me to buy school supplies at the nearby Great Eastern Mills store. We would fill the shopping cart with everything our little hearts desired: notebooks, of course, and binders, and filler paper, and Bic pens. One year we got pencil boxes that had some kind of map on the front where you could turn a little wheel and find out the capitals of all the countries in Europe, or at least I have a dim memory of such a splendid thing. Rulers. Erasers. Little boxes of "reinforcements" for two cents. The night before the first day of school, we would sit together and "pack our notebooks," getting them all organized with subject dividers.

By the time my boys went to school, the list of school supplies had grown much longer and much more expensive, with supplies purchased not by maternal whim but from a list of extremely specific items generated by each school: a box of 24 pastel chalk crayons, four notebooks with wide-ruled paper, a solar-powered calculator, a ruler with both inches and centimeters. It became a scavenger hunt, a treasure hunt, to find them all.

Now Gregory can just go over to the CU book store and buy his own school supplies, though I did go with him to buy his textbooks, unable to resist one last back-to-school spree. And maybe I'll take myself on a spree of my own and stock up on some back-to-school treasures just for me. A new Moleskine notebook - ahhh! Colored paper clips. Multi-colored rubber bands in a nicely squeezable rubber band ball. . . .


  1. So glad to know I'm not the only one still excited by back to school shopping; I don't think that excitement will ever fade. Though, my heart speeds up just a little every time I uncap a pen... I'm not sure if it's the ritual, the possibility, or simply the supplies that get to me.

  2. We were shopping this very evening for M's school supplies. H. ended up with a box of alphabet cards and I discovered a big calculator - so invigorating! Amanda

  3. I wonder if all writers love school supplies - maybe? I love uncapping pens, too - also capping them! That was my job as parent helper in kindergarten: matching capless pens with penless caps, and I loved it. Amanda, I love that H. has his alphabet cards!