It’s That Time Again!

When I was in grammar school and high school it was the time I dreaded the most. Eventually I would open the Sunday paper advertisements and see those words: “Back To School“. It signified that the carefree days of summer vacation were counting down and soon it would be time once again to hit the books. I hated the thought of going back to a dictated routine, having to get up early, having to wear a uniform, having to study, waking up when its still dark outside, the sun setting at an ungodly early hour – all of the things that signified this particular ominous time of year. But there was always one aspect of back to school that was an undeniable joy – buying school supplies!

The first pleasure associated with buying school supplies is olfactory. Walk into any office supply store or down the aisles where the school supplies are stocked in any store and you will know what I mean. That smell of paper and file folders – there is nothing comparable. It makes you want to reorganize your life, or on second thought maybe just your desk. But that initial whiff is so intoxicating it gives you visions of scholarly grandeur.

Then it’s time to start making your school supply choices. Oh the possibilities! I loved getting that new lunch box or choosing what pens I would use, getting my yearly supply of Elmer’s Glue (gotta love Elmer’s Glue), buying file folders, pencils, crayons, scissors, a new book bag, yellow highlighters, paper clips, and on and on all the while watching my shopping cart fill up with back to school delights. But there was one purchase that was the pinnacle of them all, the big kahuna, the brass ring, the piece de resistance, the mother of all mothers, the purchase to end all purchases, the height of the back to school supply shopping experience – buying your notebook!

Back To School

Ah the notebook – so many choices so little time. What will it be this year? Do you get the tried and true traditional composition book with its familiar black and white design on the cover? Or do you go bargain hunting and buy various ones with different colored covers for twenty cents each. Or maybe you opt for the one that has your favorite television show on the cover, or your favorite cartoon character or your favorite movie hero. Choosing a notebook is highly personal and tells the world, or at least your classmates, who you are and what is important to you. It is your brand for the upcoming year. Every year the notebook aisles seem to get longer and longer and the choices are endless. You can spend hours just looking at them, opening them up, fanning the pages, determining whether you want thick or thin lines, perforated edges, divided sections, pockets on the inside flap, large ringed or small ringed, a hundred pages or fifty pages. It is such a difficult decision. After all you will be stuck with it for at least a semester or perish the thought maybe even an entire year. Decisions, decisions…

So now whenever the back to school ads appear they bring back these precious memories.  No longer do I have to worry about going getting back into the routine of going back to school. I haven’t had to worry about it for a long time. And I chuckle thinking about what goes through kids’ minds today as they see those ads showing up for the first time. Are they dreading them like I did? Do they look forward to buying their school supplies? Do they get excited buying Elmer’s Glue and browsing through all of the notebooks? I wonder…

But one thing I will never understand. Can someone please explain to me why I still have this inexplicable urge to buy a notebook?  Beats me. But y’know, for old times sake I think I just might.


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