Monday, August 31, 2009

bAck tO sChoOL!

Do you remember what it was like to go back to school after summer vacation? I do. I remember laying out my clothes for the first day the night before, and having butterflies in my stomach thinking about seeing boy I liked so much again. I wanted to look extra pretty, and hoped my new binder would be as cool as the ones the other kids would show up with. I remember having trouble falling asleep, wondering what this grade would be like, if it would be hard, if the teacher would be friendly. So many things to be nervous about! 
We didn't have much money when I was growing up, and most of my belongings were used or hand-me-downs. But for the new school year I had brand new paper and pencils, and sometimes a new folder or binder. It sounds like something so simple, but it was very special to me. It was a wonderful feeling, brushing the palm of my hand over that fresh stack of paper, and I loved sharpening those pencils to a perfect point, smelling the wood shavings and graphite. The school provided new books filled with math problems and vocabulary; I remember one in particular that had tropcial fish on the cover, and I thought it was so pretty!
I was also provided snack and lunch ticket booklets from the government since my family was on welfare; the pink ones were for snack, and the purple ones were for lunch. We were supposed to write our names on the backs of them, and put one in a little basket at the beginning of the serving line. My favorite snack was the toasted english muffin with peanut butter and jelly, and my favorite lunch was hot dog day. 
I remember how much I enjoyed having an organized day again. At my grade school, there was a big bell in the tower of the white wooden library, and when the school day began or lunch break was over it would ring, sounding out through the valley and beckoning us to the shady, cool rooms which smelled of chalk and books. 
There were things I loved about school, and things I disliked about it; but one thing is certain, I have many, many memories of it, and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to learn. This is not a given everywhere in the world, and knowledge is something so valuable. I am so glad I can read and write, skills which open so many doors, and which make it possible for me to share with you, and for you to share with me.

5 comments:

  1. I loved school and I too always looked forward to the new school year ahead. I am a major stationery geek! I still love having new pens, notepads, folders etc...I cannot be without a pen and paper as I am forever writing lists and notes! Being able to read and write are two of the most important things in life and I too am very thankful :) Maths on the otherhand...well I could still do with some extra tuition!

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  2. Forgot to say that I was also from a rather poor family and I am well aware that had I been brought up in another country this may well have prevented me from having an education and that is devastating. We are so lucky :)

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  3. What a lovely post! Perfect depiction of the overwhelming feelings of first day at school. I grew up with everything I needed , not everything I wanted, and then as an adult I realised that my parents did the absolute best for me: provided me with an education and for that I'll always be grateful. When my mother was sick and realised there was no hope, she said again and again that she was sorry she didn't have the time to help me, now that I had a child. And I told her that she helped me more than anyone when she insisted that I should get an education. Now I have a good job and a knowledge of things that help me be a good mother.

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  4. Just read the comment you've left me. Mum passed away in June. I didn't mean to spoil the fun. Sorry!

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  5. I agree - a lovely post. I used to feel similiar too and I was such a stationery maniac, but sadly at various times in my school career I used to get bullied at school or feel insecure and unable to fit in so sometimes I got butterflies for an entirely different reasons. That wasn't so great. Still I battled through and although there were bad times there were good times as well and I have lots of fond memories. Also when the bullying was at its worst fate took a turn for the better - the bullies attitude change the day I got hit by a car on the way to school at the age of 11. They had to be nice to me following that! xxx

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