Just made a donation to Donors Choose, one of my favorite places to give. Thought I could commemorate back to school and the end of the summer by doing something positive. I finished the funding for 32 world atlases for a "high poverty" charter school in Philadelphia where they were trying to teach geography with one world map.
I was telling someone that decades ago this week always brought this call outside to my sister and me from my mother who announced we were going to go buy new school shoes. I remember looking in the window of the shoe store to see which appealed to me. My mother never agreed. Of course, in those days, we wore "sensible" shoes -- oxfords, tie shoes, good sturdy walking shoes. Hush Puppies. Oh my.
In those days, my sister and I had been going barefoot for months, and I remember how those new school shoes -- oh yes, and we had to put on socks for the first time in weeks to try on the shoes -- anyway, those new school shoes felt as if someone had tied bricks to our feet. We were a Stride-Rite family and I remember looking down on the Buster Brown shoe kids. Clearly inferior to Stride-Rite. Although I did like that little guy and the dog logo in the shoes. My other memory is the shoe salesman wrapping up the boxes with our new shoes with thin green string.
My other back to school memory is having to cover your books on the first day. My mother did not believe in "store bought" book covers and would cover our books with brown paper from grocery bags. Funny what a sin it was to not have a cover on your book. Later on, in high school I was able to buy my own book covers and could shed the very uncool brown paper ones. I also have to say that I loved the new school supplies -- that big packet of notebook paper, the new spiral notebooks (although we weren't allowed to turn in homework on ripped out spiral paper; there were standards.)
Let's see. I remember the weekly town paper would print the week before school started the school bus schedule and we could see what time the bus would pick us up. It was always really early -- like 7:19 or 7:21, very precise. Our house was on a hill that overlooked this lake where a road bisected the lake and on one side was a freshwater lake, and other the other side was salt water from Long Island Sound. And we could sit in the kitchen and see this yellow bus coming across the lake at which time we'd run like hell out the door, down a hill to the bus stop and make it just in time. I think about how effortless that used to be.
Just by coincidence, I wondered if there exists a photo of this lake -- of course there is. This is the Internet.
So this is taken from the road where the school bus would be heading from right to left. This is the fresh water lake, and about one-third over to the right would be the road across the two bodies of water. This lake looks powerful, but it's really only about four feet deep throughout.
So what memories do you have of your first days back to school?