This weekend, as I shopped at the Winona Wal-Mart, I became very nostalgic as I watched children pick out new backpacks, lunch boxes, and zipper bags for pencils. There is nothing in the world better than brand new school supplies to make a kid aim for the stars academically.
A week or so before school started, Momma would take my sisters and me to the store to stock up on school supplies. Of course, I always had to adapt the list to my particular style - which I convinced Momma would help me make better grades.
I always opted for the pink lined notebook paper. It was just prettier and so much more interesting. I also had to get those pens with the three different colors of ink. You know the ones I mean - with the red, green, or black levers on the top to change color.
Although I was only required to get the 24 pack of crayons, I would have to have the jumbo, hundred-count box with colors like flesh and turquoise.
"Mo-mmm-a, how will my pictures look realistic if I don't have a flesh crayon," I whined, which is the best way for any child to get exactly what they want.
Many times I convinced her to take me to Happy Names in Memphis to get "personalized" school supplies. I really needed those pencils with my name on them and my name painted on all my notebooks. It was all about theft prevention. If someone stole my pink Hello Kitty trapper keeper, I would immediately know it was mine because of the large "Amanda" emblazoned across the front in calligraphy.
Oh, I loved school; I had to be on my death bed to actually miss a day. All those books and lectures and recess were so my cup of tea, and as you might guess, I was probably considered a big kiss up with my hand in the air every time my name was called. I would volunteer to read aloud or work that math problem on the board. (Really, it just gave me a chance to write on the board. I hated math.)
Trips to the library, book fairs, career day, science fairs - I loved them. I especially liked show and tell. Once, I had a kitten that was born with her tail bent at a 90 degree angle. It just kind of pointed to the left all the time. After a few months, the bent end just fell off. We found it on the carport floor. I put the tail in a Ziploc bag and tada, show and tell. It was a hit.
Of course, I was the teacher's pet most years, but I can't say I never got into trouble. In Kindergarten, I learned really quickly that hauling off and popping someone for ticking you off got your name on the chalk board with three check marks. Three checks meant I had to sit out at recess and Ms. Beverly, my teacher, called my parents. I got punished all over again when I got home.
In second grade, Aunt Jean, Daddy's sister, was my teacher. I was so lucky. Aunt Jean really appreciated my zeal for learning - so much so that I was her favorite student. (Of course, that is what I thought and told everyone in the class).
But even I could make Aunt Jean angry. One afternoon at recess, my friend, Scooter, and I stole Aunt Jean's mercuricomb and painted our knees and elbows with the dark red liquid. The two of us pretended to fall down and hurt ourselves. Panicked that blood was involved, Aunt Jean rushed to help. She wasn't very happy when she discovered our prank. If I remember correctly, she told Daddy, and I am sure the words "she wasted my good mercuricomb" were used. (Well, she was a Sexton, after all.)
I was never a fan of P.E. Recess was okay, but structured athletics has never been my thing. I was not blessed with hand-eye coordination. Organized sports were a nightmare. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I was hit in the face by a ball.
However, I loved the trampoline. My cousins had one, and I could do flips and other tricks. I was so looking forward to showing off my skills in front of the class, but the teacher put a stop to it. He said unless I could do "swivel hips" (seat drop, flip in mid-air, and seat drop in the opposite direction) a flip was out of the question. Only one student could do "swivel hips," and I despised her.
The teacher loved this girl. Most of the class period, the other students and I would stand around the parameter of the trampoline with our arms in the air to catch the "swivel hips" girl if she launched herself across the room. We would stand there forever as she did tricks and flips while the teacher praised her. (Actually, I am beginning to think this experience is what scarred my psyche against athletics. Regardless, it is now my new excuse.)
So as classes commence in the community, know this. I miss school. If the real world would just take a cue from elementary school, the world would be such a better place. I will take the 30-minute nap for $100, Alex.