Going back to school every September involved a special and dedicated perusal of the JC Penney Catalog which arrived sometime in May, but which my sister and I hadn’t the inclination for until August.
Then it was my Mom ordering a few things from the pages and going to Macy’s for new outfits and shoes. Before the trip to Macy’s, though, my sister, at my mother’s request, emptied out her drawers of anything that didn’t fit her anymore or was merely unwanted. It was then unceremoniously handed to me or thrown in my general direction. Unfortunately, most everything always fit. However, my sister was a terrible slob as a child, and anything stained I didn’t have to accept. “Oh Tamara, I could have ‘shouted’ this out.” Mom would say with a sour Irish expression as she tossed it into the “going out” pile. How many stains went unnoticed and unreported, we’ll never know.
I know it wasn’t supposed to be, but it was kind of humiliating being asked to wear all my sister’s old stuff, and even though I got new things too, it put me in a bad mood for the upcoming shopping trip. I was once more at the start of the endless hand-me-down cycle and I’d cry for the future when I saw some of the stuff she picked out.
From there it was shoes, and I remember being very sad the day I learned that Velcro was no longer available in my size. Ah Velcro, two straps you pulled tight and you were ready for action. It was so fast! And made noise! And I was small and built for speed. Losing Velcro to tie laces was an unexpected reversal.
Then it was a new haircut. The home haircuts usually came out okay. But the modified mullet I received for my First Holy Communion brought me to such a personal low, that Mom started taking us to Sal’s on the corner and we listened to lite rock and the two of us swung in the big chairs gratefully waiting our turn.
The only part I truly enjoyed was the actual school supply shopping part, which I found completely fantastic. Fresh paper and notebooks! Fresh pencils that you could sharpen to a fine point and glue you could peel from your fingers! Craypas you could smash into new colors! This, this was my pie in the sky that descended for me every September.
Do I miss the Back to School buildup? Yes, oh yes.
But do I miss being a child? No, no. Not at all, Not ever. No.
Me, my sister Tamara, our cabbage patch dolls, and the blue shirt I'd be wearing next year.
Our back to school shopping list:
1. Great Women Rulers of Literature Ruler, 2. Composition Book, 3. Chalkboards from India, 4. Letterpress Note Papers, 5. Elephant Backpack, 6. John Derian Glass Notes Tray, 7. Yellow Euro Cases, 8. Colored Tape, 9. Living Architecture book, 10. Linen & Leather Recess Tote