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.