Bikinis are on the clearance rack, Michael’s and JoAnn’s have begun decking the halls, and the CW is airing Gossip Girl previews – all unsettling clues that the end of summer is upon us. Yet while the years of three-month vacations are far behind me, I can’t help but miss that feeling of end-of-summer melancholy morphing into back-to-school excitement.
The nostalgia emerges briefly as I roam through Bed Bath & Beyond and see the college freshmen-to-be selecting their color-coordinating comforters and lampshades, but where I truly feel wistful is at Target. My basketful of grown-up fabulousness (wine, clearance-rack bikini, and a new Nintendo Wii controller) feels inadequate next to the bounty of colored pencils and Harry Potter notebooks. And all I can feel is that I’d rather be shopping for my favorite school supplies of yore:
Trapper Keeper: In the 80s and 90s, there was no better way to separate your spelling tests from your permission slips from your love notes than with this Velcro-clad organizational wizard.
Lisa Frank Anything: Miss Frank was the Martha Stewart of school supplies. Her fusion of rainbows and unicorns and butterflies and puppies was a girly dream come true.
The Protractor: Never have I enjoyed a school supply as much as the frivolous protractor. My inaugural protractor was a pink see-through version which I insisted my mother purchase although I was several years from geometry. I still own it and use it never.
Mr. Sketch Smelly Markers: This was the holy grail of school supplies and while I begged and pleaded to get these every year – I always ended up with the more economical (and decidedly un-smelly) Crayolas. I may or may not have swiped myself a blueberry from the class stash.
Kleenex: I’ve always wondered if this was a universally required “supply” or if Illinois schools were just a little snifflier than others, but my goal in life was to be the kid who brought the coolest-looking boxes of tissues on the first day of school. This is why I’m not a rocket scientist.
Notebooks: There’s no better way to show off your favorite cartoons, colors or what it would look like if you put your first name in front of the boy in the next row’s last name.
While I admit that test-taking, running “the mile,” and reversible gym shirts with a big white name label are very happily behind me, I’ll always miss the thrill of walking into school with my new outfit, my new backpack, and my new protractor.
What do you miss most from your school supply days?