by Ellen Leventhal
I admit it. I’m a Back to School geek. I kind of get into all the Back to School hoopla. The ads, the sales, all of it. It may be the middle of August and 100 degrees, but it’s still Back to School Season.
Back to School time is like New Year’s. The beginning of the school year is filled with possibilities. But to be honest, that’s not the reason I like this season. The real reason lies at Office Max and teacher supply stores. My name is Ellen, and I am a school supply junkie. I started young. I began hoarding pens and pencils in elementary school. My habit got worse as I went through school. By the time I was a student teacher, I found that I couldn’t be trusted with loose supplies. They ended up in my possession, and I could never remember how they got there. As I reflect, I now wonder if I went into education just for the supplies.
At first, pencils and blue ball point pens were my supplies of choice. When that didn’t do it for me anymore, I moved up to bigger things. Gel pens and highlighters. I couldn’t resist the colors. Now I’ve added sticky notes. Not just the yellow kind. Oh no, I have sticky notes in every color. And pens to match each note.
I’ve always had a problem. When I think back on my life, I realize what an impact the school supply aisle had on me. Cue the dreamlike music…
Elementary School: My feet really hurt in these new shoes, but I get to sharpen all those yellow number two pencils. I wonder if the president of Crayola got my fan letter. A crayon sharpener right in the box! Brilliant!
Junior High: I hope that boy will notice me. I’m sure he likes my brand new pink eraser and Beatles notebook. And those girls must be pretty jealous of my Herman’s Hermits’ pencils and note pads.
High School: I love my blue notebook and college lined paper. The separators with multi-colored tabs are the best money can buy. I think that boy is pretty impressed too. He looked at me when I clicked my Bic. I think I’ll write his name on my notebook.
College: This may be the real thing. We go school supply shopping together. We spend hours at the store enabling each other and then go back to the dorm and look at our stash. Sigh.
Post College: I’m the teacher now, and that boy is still shopping with me. He’s kicked his habit, but he still enables me. Do I really need two attendance books and highlighters of every color? Sure. You just never know. Oh, and look at those stamps I need!
Fast forward many years to a recent conversation.
Me: Honey, my house flooded, so I won’t be able to tutor you there for a while.
Student: Did all our markers and highlighters get ruined?
We both wept just a little.
Wishing everyone a wonderful school year filled with happiness, success, and cherry scented highlighters.