August 31, 2010

Back to School

Can you believe it's back-to-school time already?!  I think I echo a million people when I ask, "Where the H did the summer go?!".

So, parents (or kids, depending on who's reading this) - are you excited for your kids to go back?  Or are you a little sad because you won't see them every day?  Or maybe a little of both?  :D

This fall marks 20 years since my last "first day of school".  It was my second senior year of college and I couldn't wait to get out.  I was burned out by then and I already had a job in my field (TV Production), so I sort of didn't see the point.  But I'm glad I saw it through, even though I wound up working for only four years in TV (talk about BURNOUT!).

I always looked forward to that first day of school and finding out who would be in my homeroom.  Back in the 70s and 80s, of course, we didn't have the Internet so we'd have to trek to school to see the posted homeroom assignments.  I always hoped that my neighborhood friends were in my classes but it never happened.  I never got the "cool" teachers, either (it was many years later that I learned my Grammie, who was a music teacher (Mrs. Seiler, for those of you who were taught by her) in the same district where we attended, pulled some strings to make sure I had the tough teachers and, because she knew firsthand my "issues" with paying attention, that my best friends would never share my homeroom.  Here's to relatives and parents looking out for kids!). 

And who didn't love new school supplies?!  I wasn't a big fan of school, per se, but man - did I ever love those new pink erasers!  I can almost smell that faint petroleum-based rubber smell now.  But the apex of my school supply lust came in the fall of '79 - the year I started sixth grade (and middle school, for all you non-US students out there.  You're 10 or 11 when you start sixth grade).  My mom and dad broke down and bought my sister Jen and me each a Trapper Keeper.  Perhaps I'm dating myself but if you're around 40 and went to school in the US or Canada you know EXACTLY the thrill whereof I speak.  And believe it or not, it did actually raise my street cred a notch (but when you're a huge geek like I was, it couldn't go any lower).  Oh, how I loved my Trapper Keeper!  That thing must've made Mead a zillion dollars that year.  I see that they're actually still available!  What a hoot!

That same year, in sixth grade, all of the grade schools in Ashwaubenon combine into one middle school - Parkview Middle School.  And because it was the late Seventies and education ideas were getting an overhaul, they tried something new - "pods" (Mine was 6A).  Each pod was one giant room divided with partitions so that you were almost always with the same 90 kids (three teachers to a pod) but you had different classes at different times.  It's actually kind of a neat idea.  On that first day of school 31 years ago, armed with the aforementioned Trapper Keeper and my new feathered haircut (yep, that's me in the photo in 6th grade), I was excited to meet the "other kids" from Pioneer and Cormier Elementary Schools (I went to Valley View).  For some reason we all met in non-pod classrooms first, and I was assigned to the Home Ec room (it's not called "Home Economics" anymore - it's something like "Family Prep" or something stupid).  As I was in the Home Ec room and staring into the sea of new kids, I saw a girl that looked friendly enough, so I thought maybe after class we could become "Besties", as only you can when you're a kid. 

Imagine my surprise when the girl I thought would become my "Bestie" turned out to be my own reflection in the mirror.  I have no idea how I didn't realize we were wearing the same shirt, or that this person looked exactly like me, but it must've been nerves.  Before you either pity me and/or call me a dumbass, revel in the knowledge that I did indeed find two Besties that day - Amy Wettengel and Beth Schoenebeck.  :D

So that's my favorite "first day of school" story.  For those of you who are either returning to school tomorrow (like my nieces and nephew!) or have kids that are, I wish you all smooth sailing.  Here's to a safe, happy, productive '10-'11 school year!

1 comment:

  1. ooh, I thought of "Trapper Keeper" before I read it in your post; I LOVED my Trapper Keeper!! I still walk through the school supply aisle, and have a weakness for packages of loose-leaf binder paper (college ruled), 3-subject notebooks, and those zipper pockets that hold all the pencils, pens, and stuff inside the binders. I don't remember many specific memories, but I do remember the transition from all-classes-with-one-teacher to switching-rooms-for-different subjects; I thought we were soooo grown up, walking through the halls, upstairs and down, on our way to and from classes in that 3 minutes!! Thanks for the memories!

    (and the laugh-- you didn't even realize you were wearing the same shirt?? ha!! but seriously, that's probably pretty profound, too, the fact that you thought she could be your best friend, and she turned out to be YOU!)