It's time for a Back-To-School Friday Five!
1. Is anyone going back to school, as a student or teacher, at your house? How's it going so far?
Not exactly, though Eric performed at a huge Back-To-School Night last week (a huge success, since kids who wanted to see the show bugged their parents to take them, and so the school had a much bigger parent turnout than usual. Plus, the show kept the kids occupied for an hour, so parents and teachers could confab in relative peace. It was a really good idea! I would never have thought of it!)
Also, the big, brightly-colored ball of utter fabulousness that is Mystery Academy is all ramped up for the fall season, doing after-school programs at a ton of area elementaries. So, while no one's in a classroom for a full day, yeah, we did notice that it was September.
At our church, we treat fall as the new year - new fiscal year, new sermon series, new discipleship groups, and this year, a new way of structuring kids ministries for elementary schoolers.
2. Were you glad or sad when back-to-school time came as a kid?
Glad, I guess (though I imagine that I am gazing through the rosy gauze of nostalgia.) Certainly I was excited to go back to college...
3. Did your family of origin have any rituals to mark this time of year? How about now?
I remember going shopping - we lived in a rural area (to say the least), and so my poor, beleagured parents would pack me and my brother into the car for one whirlwind day of back-to-school clothes and shoe shopping at the glamorous and very sophisticated Harrisburg East Mall. We only went that one time every year, and so, every year, my dad would miss the exit. There we would be, sailing past the mall, keeping up with the traffic, unable to get anywhere near it. So every year, someone would shrug and say "I guess you can't get there from here, huh?"
4. Favorite memories of back-to-school outfits, lunchboxes, etc?
When I was going to kindergarten, I picked out the very best lunchbox from the display at the Rea&Derricks - a Superman lunchbox!
This one. (Lunchboxpad.com confirms that this is the design that was released in 1967. So that would be right.) Look at it! It's gorgeous! The shiny reds, the brilliant yellows...it's an excellent design.
The kids in my first grade did not see it that way. They made fun of me for having a boy's lunchbox! Why in the world would a lunchbox be a boy's lunchbox? Didn't everyone like Superman? He's super, for Chrissake - how could his appeal be limited to boys? Besides, it was mine, and I was indeed a girl (despite occasional speculation to the contrary) and so it must be a girl's lunchbox. Besides, it's the best one.
My exemplary reasoning did not sway anyone.
(And Mrs. Gross did nothing to intervene on my behalf, I now realize.)
I had the courage of my convictions at school, but broke down in tears at home.
But my mom did the best thing ever. My mom (though it could have been my dad) looked at the box, and had an idea. I chose a nice metallic gold, and we taped off some shapes and spray-painted the box. You could still see some of the great primary colors, but now they made colorful abstract patterns through dot and flower and heart outlines...even the word "LOVE" spelled out in masking tape on one side. It was completely original, one-of-a-kind, and mine. And no one ever made fun of it again.
(The whole gender question persisted, of course. When I was in second grade, I cut my own hair with my mother's layout scissors because I believed that would make me a boy. (Wearing a baseball cap everywhere hadn't quite done it.) This is reflected in my school pictures, where I am wearing a blue turtleneck, 1/16-inch bangs, and the most resentful look you have ever seen.)
5. What was your best year of school?
Second grade was very cool - I had a great teacher, Mrs. Murray. She loved golf and was allergic to grass. She read us Charlotte's Web. She was 6 feet tall, with enormously long arms and legs, and looked a little like Carol Burnett. I didn't know this at 7, but it turns out she was married to a notorious homosexual (it was the 60s, there were still people married to notorious homosexuals) and they had what my mother referred to as 'an arrangement'. I get the feeling that my parents were very fond of her, at least partly in spite of themselves.
Sophomore year of high school, I ran briefly with the Popular Crowd, which I enjoyed. Junior year, I accidentally gathered my own crowd of misfits, philosophers, gender-traitors and underachievers, which I enjoyed much more.