Sunday, August 24, 2014

Run, Spot, Run

The Fair was over and school close on its heels. A new notebook, a couple of No. 2, yellow pencils, a new pad of lined paper. New, long, white sticks of chalk sat in the tray at the blackboards.We were ready for school, and school was ready for us.

In those first years of school, we started the year with a big, fat, black pencil and paper that was more grey than white with fat lines to accommodate the fat pencil. Our desks were ages old. I remember sitting at a desk that actually had a place for an ink well. The top of the desk lifted so we could store our school supplies. I often thought of the little girl who had her pig tail dipped into the ink well long before I went to school. Dick, Jane and their dog Spot came into our lives.

Mom took me school shopping for replacements of clothing that no longer fit. Hand-me-downs from my cousin Karen were the always loved and appreciated. New white bucks for band were a bit expensive but necessary. We never really went with the trends. We went with what fit into the pocketbook. I always hated that first streak of dirt on my new Keds yet couldn't wait until they were scuffed up to look broken-in. I had a new hair cut or perm, both which made me look ridiculous and maybe, just maybe, a new sweater.

Our feet that had been toughened up over the summer and our bodies that were tanned from hanging out in the fields paled as the year wore on. We changed colors with the changing of the seasons. My hair went from pale blond to dark blond. My fingernails went from summer digging grey to winter white. A farm kid was always in transition.

I am jealous that we didn't get to set our own style back then. If you dared to be different, you ran the risk of whispers behind your back. A boy didn't dare have long hair. Girls didn't dare have short skirts. That was about the long and the short of it.

My granddaughters go back to school with their backpacks, insulated lunch bags with plastic containers, calculators and very little paper. Most of their homework is done on the computer. They no longer get a grade card. It is all online. They can email their teacher's with questions and can get homework at home when ill with just a few clicks on the computer. School supplies now consist of supplies for other students and the school as well. Best of all, there can wear their own style. Being popular takes a back seat to academics, and many kids have college credit by the time they graduate. Pretty exciting.

I don't think they make those old fat pencils any more. The old desk with the inkwell is worth about $185 online. You can buy an old copy of Fun with Dick and Jane on ebay for a reasonable price.
Time for school, and all I can say is "Run, Spot, Run!"

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