I might have been a freak but I used to love going back to school. I still love this time of year even though I have no school to go back to. Sure, summer was cool. We had a water ice truck, called Maroni’s, that would come down the street every night and all of the kids would line up for water ice and soft pretzels. (They bred us as typical Philadelphians from a young age) What was cool was that the guy who owned the truck lived down the block from us, so if you waited…and oh yeah we waited…until his nightly trip was done, you could get the leftover pretzels.
Anyway, back-to-school came in September for us Catholic school kids. Yes, we had to ignore the back-to-school sales at Penney’s and Clover because new wardrobes were pointless. Our wardrobes came from Flynn and O’Hara, the uniform store. Possibly a new white blouse with Peter Pan collar or itchy blue sweater or a new pair of saddle shoes. Which are, it has been proven, the most god-awful ugliest shoes on earth.
We didn’t care though. What Catholic grade-school girls cared about (and still do) was stationary. All forms. Pencil cases, pens with pink or teal ink, fun erasers shaped like fruit, anything scratch-n-sniff…those sorts of things. We would stock up on those lead pencils where you keep replacing the little nub with fresh lead at Fluff-N-Stuff, then trade them once we got back to school. We bugged our moms for the expensive Jansen backpacks, which I didn’t get until at least 8th grade. There was nothing like a fresh notebook to fill up with your adorable little catholic-school penmanship (and yes, our handwriting kicks any public school kid’s handwriting ass any day!)
Then you got sent off to school where they would give you forms to fill out. Did you want to get a milk or fruit punch every day? How about a soft pretzel at recess? Man, don’t you wish your job had a fruit punch and pretzel service every day? They would also send you home with your textbooks which you had to wrap in brown paper bags. See, we were recycling before some huge marketing campaign told us to. They would have book fairs in the library where you could buy Babysitter’s Club books and Santa’s Workshop in the gym where yes, you could make your mom a “World’s Best Mom” button. And she acted like it was the best thing ever.
So as I sit here…at work, I realize that if I could have stopped growing at 7, I gladly would have.