Time to start on those summer reading requirements.
(Actually, that’s not fair. One of my children has already finished four lengthy novels and taken detailed notes on each. The other one has not.)
Last year’s school clothes have been tried on. The 10-year-old boy has outgrown everything, including socks as well as shoes.
On the bright side, it’s time to shop for school supplies. I do love shopping for school supplies. I still remember buying my first Big Chief writing tablet at the five-and-dime store up the street from my house. Got some of those big fat pencils to go with it.
At my children’s school, the parents’ association sells pre-bagged school supplies. A worthy fundraiser and mighty convenient, I admit. But where’s the fun in that?
I love the look and feel of brand-new colored pencils, the razor-thin points of brand-new markers, the rattle when you shake a full box of No. 2 pencils.
I enjoy perusing the aisles of school supplies, seeing what’s new — how many colors of Sharpie can they possibly make? — and what’s old — hey, they still make cardboard pencil boxes! I love cardboard pencil boxes!
We always shop at Davie School Supply, a teacher-supply store in downtown Anniston. It’s not as cheap as Walmart or Office Max, but it’s locally owned, and the sales people always recognize us when we come in.
Davie stocks all kinds of cool stuff that’s not on the official school-supply list: flags, globes, musical instruments, model dinosaurs, science kits, paints, clay, stacks and stacks of construction paper, pipe cleaners in every color of the rainbow. They’ve even got bulk-sized containers of glitter. Because it’s not kindergarten without lots and lots of glitter.
This year, my children’s school-supply lists include the usual suspects: pencils (No. 2), pens (red and black), notebook paper (wide-ruled), hand sanitizer (lots), glue sticks (thousands).
But there are some new developments. Sticky notes (3x3) are a requirement for fifth grade. My seventh-grader needs a compass, a protractor and graph paper (1/4-inch). Both my children need flash drives.
This makes me feel old. I grew up in the days of two-holed notebook paper. They didn’t make zippered binders in my day, much less flash drives. Heck, I never even had a backpack. I had to carry my books in my arms, while I walked the two miles uphill to school in the snow.
But I had more chance for self-expression than my children do. I had a different pocket folder for each subject: mod flowers for English, the Monkees for science. I had paper book covers that I could cover with doodles. I had a different metal lunchbox every year.
I also had the most hideous PE uniform ever designed. It was a polyester unitard that zipped up the front, red shorts on the bottom, tiny red horizontal stripes on the top. Not only did it make you sweat like a pig, it also made you look fat.
My kids get to wear shorts and a T-shirt for PE.
Change isn’t all bad.