Friday, August 13, 2010

Flashback Friday: Back to School

Did your family have any back-to-school traditions when you were growing up? Were you generally eager or reluctant to start school? Was buying school supplies a big deal or did you order them through the school? Were there any school supplies you particularly loved? Did you take your lunch or buy it at school? Brown bag or lunch box/thermos? Does the first day of school from any grade stand out? Did you ride the bus, walk, or go by car to school? Do you remember how early or late school began/dismissed each day? Did you go to kindergarten? Half-day or whole day?

I absolutely loved going back to school every fall! I was an only child till I was 16, so I was always glad to go back and see all my friends. I also liked to learn. The things I liked, anyway, such as English and reading; history was ok; hated science; and liked math pretty well. I could never sleep the night before the first day of school, and I was always excited to meet my new teacher. I was always so determined on the first day to keep my books and desk neat, to study hard (even the subjects I hated), and to go to bed on time and get up cheerfully, but usually by, ohhhhh, mid-September or so, the new had worn off and brought me back to reality.

I loved buying my school supplies. The beginning of school meant new clothes, and I always picked out my favorite of the new things to wear on the first day of school. One year my mother bought me a new dress that I really liked (I think it was probably my first-day-of-school dress that year), but she bought it really big so I could have plenty of room to grow into it. Well, by the next year, it still fit except for being a little too short, so Mama sewed a white band around the bottom to lengthen it. I was mortified! Looking back now, I can see how strapped we were for money, and Mama had done the wise thing and best thing - stretching out the wear I got out of that dress - but as a 10-year-old, I had no idea of those things. I just knew I hated wearing that dress with the band on the bottom. I laugh over it now! Most years I got new shoes too. One year I begged and begged my mother for a certain pair of shoes that I just loved, but when she gave in and bought them for me, someone laughed at them the first day of school and I didn't want to wear them anymore. But of course I had to, because I had insisted that this was the pair I wanted, so this was the pair the shoe money was spent on. I sure hated those shoes that year!

I loved getting a new notebook, too, especially the year I got a Trapper Keeper. Everybody had one, and up till that year, my mother had always bought me a plain notebook covered in a coarse, blue, denim-type fabric. It was soooo plain! LOL But my Trapper Keeper had a picture of kittens or puppies - can't remember which - and it had pockets inside, and it snapped closed! Oh, I was so excited! Here's a gallery of vintage (ahem) Trapper Keepers, but none of them looked like the one I had. Apparently Mead still makes them, because there's an official Trapper Keeper website.

I carried my lunch rather than buying school lunches. My mother was very consistent - a sandwich made from "skinny meat" (Carl Buddig thin slices in a pouch - I think they cost 25 cents a pack then) with mayonnaise, mustard, and one piece of lettuce that was totally wilted by lunch, a bag of chips from the variety pack of Lay's, and a Little Debbie snack cake, usually raisin because that's what Mama liked! ;) For one year I had a red plaid lunch box with a thermos (which carried either iced tea or kool-aid), but after that year I was allowed to take my lunch in a brown paper sack. I still remember how that lunch box smelled! Like a mixture of Fritos and wilted lettuce! LOL There's one here that is just like mine; it's the one on the right. What memories that brought back!

I did go to kindergarten, half-days, and it was close enough to walk, although it seemed like a long way to me. During my public-school 1st-3rd grade years, I rode the bus. There were some other children on my road, so we all caught the bus together. One day, one of the boys and I decided to hide in the woods till the bus came, then sneak back to his house to play all day. Needless to say, we were caught, and I never tried that again. My Christian-school elementary years, I rode on the school van, and later I rode to school with friends. My 8th-grade year was in public school once again, and I rode the bus. It was a horrible experience, and I'm glad it was only one year. The rest of my school years were in Christian schools, and I was happy to ride with friends and eventually drive myself to school.

This was a fun one, Linda! If you'd like to read more first-day-of-school stories, pop over to Linda's and follow the links there! Thanks for stopping by! 


  1. I remember Trapper Keepers, too -- loved those things! I could remember having lunch boxes but not what they looked like or what I usually ate.

  2. I loved reading this! My mom bought the Buddig ham too, only she made breakfast gravy with it.

    It's so interesting to see all our different - yet so similar - stories!

  3. Barbara ~ I could never forget those sandwiches and raisin cakes! LOL

    Linda ~ It is funny to see how we all had so much in common. Breakfast gravy with the Buddig meat - I never would have thought of that!

  4. We ate Carl Budding sandwiches too--but we never got chips or anything like that to go along with them. We'd have carrots and celery sticks and an apple or orange--or maybe some canned fruit from the basement pantry.

  5. I never had the veggies or fruit! LOL

  6. Susan, this is really nice to read and learn about you. Going back and forth between public and Christian schools sometimes isn't real easy either. My home-schooled grandson attended second grade for part of a year. He was very bored because he was so far ahead.

    I liked your reference to the Carl Buddig thin slices in a pouch. We didn't have them but did have bologna. I eat Carl Buddig now sometimes. If I'm running late and am hungry while at the grocery store I will buy a pack and eat them with crackers, hot dog buns, or bread. If I bought mustard I would use a little of that too.

    I suppose our country school with about eight kids was different than either Christian or most public.
    BTW, I put on Mr. Linky a link to my school picture which I found. It might not stay on Mr. Linky but it is on my blog now too.

  7. Jim, I'm sure your one-room schoolhouse experience was much different than mine, but the Christian schools I went to were small. My graduating class had about 25-30 students, and we were one of the more established Christian schools in our city!

  8. No traditions for me but I loved new school supply shopping!

  9. Enjoyed reading your school memories, and lessons learned through experience--what we want so badly may not be what we need.
    Had forgotten about Trapper Keepers.
    You have a good memory for details!

  10. Jenn ~ I still love it, but I don't have much need for most of the stuff now.

    Rita ~ I don't know why I can remember things like Trapper Keepers but not things like we need milk! LOL


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