Let's Talk with Nancy J. Cohen
Let’s Talk About School Memories
Back to School Memories
Memories plus a giveaway! What could be better? Sit back and enjoy our recollections, and then be sure to chime in to tell us yours.
I went to elementary school in the 50s. Back in the day, the school system provided all supplies. You were allowed to bring your own crayons which you kept in your desk. I recall going from the 8 count box, to 16, and the joy when my parents bought me the 64 colors. First day of school meant wearing the new outfit, and especially the new shoes. It was meeting the new teacher, and seeing how many of your friends were in the same class, since our year was big enough (all those post-war babies) to warrant two classes. And the lunch box. This was important. They were metal in those days, and thermos bottles were glass lined. It was a rare year that at least one didn’t break.
Another thing I remember from my school years… back to school was always HOT. In California, schools started the Monday after Admissions Day, which is Sept. 9th and it seemed we’d start school in the midst of a heat wave. In high school, there were dress codes. Girls had to wear skirts or dresses AND nylons. Times have changed. More freedom for the kids, more expenses for the parents.
Now that I’m retired, my kids are all grown, I’m hardly aware of the school calendar. Hitting the stores with the huge displays of back to school supplies always catches me by surprise. – Terry Odell
It’s been a long time since I’ve had to deal with back-to-school, so I’m reaching into some of my favorite memories of years gone by. When I had little ones, I liked to take them to Dairy Queen after their first day of school. The weather was generally still hot, and it was a special way to sit and talk about how that first day went, what they were looking forward to, how they liked their new teachers, etc. – Karla Brandenburg
I enjoyed the concept of school, even though in grade school I was often bored and spent many an hour at the blackboard writing “I will not talk in class.” School started after Labor Day, and as August dragged its hot body toward the finish line, I looked forward to seeing friends who lived too far away to play with over the summer. I hated the annual clothes-shopping expedition, but as my reward I could choose new notebooks—my annual tabula rasa, in which I anticipated to recording exciting new knowledge. – James M Jackson
I used to look forward to the start of school each year. New teachers, new textbooks, new assignments. My mind was ready for the challenge by summer’s end. I also have to admit being one of the nerdy kids who liked homework. Well, maybe not math but other subjects. I don’t recall shopping for new outfits like kids do today or even lunchboxes. I did get school supplies like notebooks, paper, and tab dividers. I either walked home from school for lunch (elementary) or ate in the school cafeteria.
Speaking of walking, I always walked to school unless the weather was hazardous, in which case my mother drove me. It must have been a couple of miles to high school. We didn’t have backpacks that I recall and just carried the books. Maybe the books are why I liked the beginning of school. Even then, I had a book addiction. But it was exciting to face a new term and wonder what topics we’d study and what new things we’d learn.
Here’s my old Kindergarten photo. Note the girl in front with pigtails and her eyes closed. For some reason, I didn’t like getting my picture taken in the early days. I’m not shy now! I’ll be happy to smile for you anytime. At this stage in my life, I am glad to choose my own books to read and to learn what I want at the pace I choose. – Nancy J Cohen
Like the other authors, I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of that first back to school day, of the thrill of being spiffed up in new clothes and new shoes. Penny loafers were the rage when I was in grade school, saddle shoes in high school. When I was a child, girls weren’t allowed to wear pants to school. It was dresses or nothing. I always managed to tear my dress on the old metal merry-go-round that squeaked as it spun in laughter-producing circles.
In middle school, hemlines went up, so that teachers began measuring distances of the hemline from your kneecap (I kid you not). Too short and home you went. In high school, everything was okay. This was the early 70s, so we had miniskirts, maxi dresses, elephant leg pants, and a different vest for every occasion.
I loved the smell of high school. The aroma of art gum erasers. Umm. The girls with their grown up colognes and toilet waters. Fun, but eye watering. The boys with their aftershave in the Driver’s Ed car. Interesting. Sneaking off campus for a cheeseburger and a coke from McDonalds. Yum. Our gym lockers. Faintly sour, so thank you, Coach, for making us take our gym uniform home every Friday. – Maggie Toussaint
For me, it’s all about the change in the light. Even now, when back to school isn’t really the calendar that controls my life, the light of late August and early September stirs the sense of renewal, of a fresh slate wiped clean. It feels like beginnings and possibility and movement. Even though the thermometer is still in the nineties, the light promises that autumn is really and truly on the way. – Tina Whittle
We’ve shared our memories, and we hope you’ll share some of yours. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter contest to win our custom tote bag. A winner will be selected on September 1.
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Posted in Let's Talk, with James M. Jackson, with Karla Brandenburg, with Maggie Toussaint, with Nancy J. Cohen, with Terry Odell, with Tina Whittle, zed: Former Authors • Tags: BLB Discussion, James M. Jackson, Karla Brandenburg, Let's Talk, Maggie Toussaint, Nancy J Cohen, School Memories, Terry Odell, Tina Whittle | 18 Comments