Can you hardly stand how cute this face is? This is my niece, Kate, holding a really, really big pencil! (It's to make a point.) What is better than a brand new #2 perfectly sharpened pencil, with a bright pink, totally unused eraser on the first day of school? C'mon now ...
It is hard for me to remember if I was ever excited for the first day of school. I think I was normally a bag of nerves mixed with a little anxiety. School seemed a bit daunting to me as a child. So many people. So much to remember. Would I find a friend to sit by at lunch? What if all of my friends were eating in the cafeteria and I had brought my lunch? (Oh wait, that happened just about every day, so that one did cause continual anxiety through the years.) What if I gave the wrong answer when called upon in class? Seriously.
But I did love back to school shopping. I can remember going to shop at Bullock's Dept Store on Lake Street in Pasadena. They really just don't make department stores like they used to. Forget the escalators - they had elevators, because there were SO many floors. And I remember there being "bell men" on the elevators and greeters as you got off, although that was probably not the reality of it. It was just a really big deal - an outing, for sure.
We would usually get four or five outfits. Most of it coordinated so we could mix and match. Make our wardrobe stretch farther. I loved plaids, and the fall colors lined up on the tables and racks. We would get a new white blouse ... some corduroy pants. For sure at least one cardigan sweater. My mother would let us get one new pair of tennis shoes and one pair of "school shoes." I think my favorite year of school shoes was in 6th grade, when I got light brown suede saddle oxfords, with a dark brown flap over the laces. I did love those ... especially with my new spankin' white knee socks that I would meticulously roll down just right, perfectly even under both knees.
But even more than my new clothes from Bullock's (because I still had the concern that someone else might have the same thing. Or I would run out of new clothes WAY before the other girls did. Or I might spill something on my new shoes, and then what? Or I might get caught passing notes. Seriously?), I loved getting new school supplies!
A new backpack and a new pack of white lined paper. A new three ring binder with a zip lock pouch in front. New pens and pencils and big pink erasers. (Remember when they came out with ink erasers? The white ones? Loved those too! I don't like cross outs, so it was way cool to now be able to erase even your ink mistakes ... except when you rubbed too hard and it ripped your paper. SO not cool - then you had to start all over again on a new piece of paper.)
I liked having a new little plastic pencil sharpener too. One that would catch the shavings - because what if I had to get up in front of the whole class to sharpen my pencil? And everyone watched me as I walked toward the pencil sharpener, and watched me while I sharpened my pencil, and then watched me as I walked back to my seat and sat down?
(Thinking back - how in the world did I make it through without therapy?)