Having a hard time trying to find a new light bulb for your lamp at Target because of all stacks of binders and ream after ream of wide-ruled filler paper? It's that magical time again: Back To School. Stock up on pencils, pens, markers, crayons, erasers, pen erasers, crayon erasers, compasses, protractors, pocket dictionaries, rulers, spiral notebooks, pocket folders, safety scissors and Elmer's glue. Way back in the olden days, all this stuff was supposed to fit inside a cigar box that would then be stowed next your math book, science book, social studies book, and your leveled reader.
That was the easy stuff. The hard stuff was the school clothes. Due to my consistently panda bear shape, I was afforded a limited selection available in the "husky" section. You might think that thirty-plus years would be enough to lose some of the stigma from this experience, but it seems to run pretty deep. It didn't matter how long I looked with my mother, everything I ended up wearing looked like something you'd see on Peter Brady. Well, a husky Peter Brady. Coupled with this limitation was the onerous exercise of trying the pants on. I still don't like to try pants on. I want to wear those pants with the waist size that is smaller than the length, but that has never quite worked out for me. I remember standing there in the dressing room, a number of near misses balled up on the floor beside me, as another wave came over the transom followed by my mother's voice: "Here - try these."
I tried them all. Eventually we got a few new pair of pants, a bunch of new shirts, and a new pair of jeans for after school. Then there were school shoes. I wore Buster Brown until I got to sixth grade. Each year got a little easier. By junior high, I was able to get away with t-shirt and jeans a couple days a week. Every September I flinched a little less. Now I'm getting ready to go back to teaching fourth grade again, and I need some new teacher clothes. It's that time of year again.