Posted tagged ‘lunch box’

“Describing her first day back in grade school after a long absence, a teacher said, It was like trying to hold 35 corks under water at the same time. “

September 7, 2015

Labor Day was the last day of freedom for me. School always started the next day. I knew when it was Labor Day even before I mastered calendars as my mother always sang a happy tune. Nothing flustered her. I suspect the chant of one more day was repeating in her head blocking out anything else including our usual squabbles. She forced us to bathe even though we hadn’t gotten all that dirty since Saturday. We complained but she didn’t really care. By bedtime, an early bedtime, more cause for complaint, her inner voice was chanting tomorrow, tomorrow. Had it existed, the song from Annie could have been her anthem.

We were a bit excited but not anything we’d admit. I looked through my pencil box time and again. It could only be new once. Before I went to bed, my school bag was ready with a pad of paper, that pencil box and some crayons, a small box. My mother would make our lunches in the morning and put them in the lunch boxes. She always took out the thermos bottles if we weren’t going to use them. They were easily broken. I can still remember the tinkling sound of thin glass in a broken thermos bottle. Our new clothes and shoes were out and ready. The shoes we’d wear every day but the clothes were only for the first day. After that, uniforms were the order of the day. We already knew our teachers. It was a nun one year and a regular person the next year except in the sixth ad seventh grades. No nuns taught either of those years, but a nun taught each of the eighth grade classes.

I don’t remember when I stopped using a lunch box and used a brown bag instead. I guess it was a milestone of sorts. Gone too were the pencil cases and the school bags. I used pens and carried my books. School wasn’t just the end of vacation. It was also the return of routine. That was the worse part.

“My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf, So it stood ninety years on the floor”

September 3, 2015

The judge has nullified the four game suspension of Tom Brady. The league will appeal. Enough said!

The hot day today is no different from the last few hot days. A breeze? Nope, not even a small one. Last night we had enough of a breeze to ring the chimes hanging from branches in the back yard. Not today. Everything is quiet. I can hear only Gracie’s snores.

After the first couple of days, school became routine. The fun of a new lunch box and new pencil case wore off quickly. The school day never really changed from year to year. Classes, lunch, recess then more classes was the order of the day. Once a week we had art and music, and they were the only deviations from the traditional subjects. I remember in music we learned how to read the lines of the treble clef: EGBDF: every good boy does fine. That has stayed with me all these years. I also still remember the clef spaces: FACE. That I remember has proven to be totally useless as not once has either come up in conversation. I’ve used mnemonics for so many things but these two and HOMES seem to have lives of their own.

We learned songs in music. My Grandfather’s Clock was one of them. I knew all the words but didn’t really understand what they meant. I would have asked all sorts of questions if the nun ever called for a Q&A. How did the clock know? What did the old man die of? What’s a pennyweight? Who was watching the clock when the old man died and why is he called the old man? How come he’s not called Grandfather? Instead, I remained ignorant of the intricacies of the story and sang along anyway. I really only liked the song because you got to pause at the line. “It stopped short – never to go again,” We all waited just for that line. The only other song I remember is Up on the Housetop. Because we all still believed in Santa Claus, it was etched in our memories. I’ll never forget:

“Ho, ho ho! Who wouldn’t go? Ho, ho ho! Who wouldn’t go?
Up on the housetop, click, click, click
Down through the chimney with old Saint Nick”

Read more:  Christmas Song – Up On The Housetop Lyrics | MetroLyrics

“Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day. It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken.”

September 1, 2014

Last night around midnight I was in bed watching a movie on my iPad when all of a sudden the room lit up. That was the beginning of the thunder and lightning and the torrential rain. The thunder was loud and long-lasting. The rain was so heavy I could hear the drops plunking my air conditioner in a constant rat-a-tat. I got out of bed to look out the window at the storm. I watched for a long while. The wind was whipping the oak branches back and forth and the backlash from the rain hitting the overhang came in the window. I didn’t mind. The storm was exhilarating.

Today is humid and ugly. It is an August day, the sort we usually suffer through each summer but not this year when August days, weather defined, have been noticeably missing. The sun managed to break through for a short time earlier but disappeared and left behind a cloudy, darkish day. It is very still and quiet.

Labor Day was always the last day of summer vacation when I was a kid. It meant a week day bath, setting out my new clothes and arranging the supplies in my school bag. The arranging took the most time as I would put the supplies in then take them out to look at them then put them back in a different arrangement. My mother would put our new lunch boxes on the counter and have them open and ready for packing in the morning. She made us go to bed earlier than we had all summer, but we didn’t fall asleep any earlier. I remember lying in bed thinking about the next day. I was excited about school starting.

My mother woke us up, and we were grumpy because of the early hour. She made us eat breakfast first then we got dressed, grabbed our book bags and lunch boxes and left for school. My friend Michelle and I always walked together. We were a little anxious getting to school on that first morning, but the nervousness wore off quickly because every day after that was always the same. The only thing that changed was my sandwich and the dessert.

“Smartness runs in my family. When I went to school I was so smart my teacher was in my class for five years. “

August 22, 2014

Just as I went to get the newspapers it started to rain, not mist but heavy drops of rain. I went anyway. I got wet and I got chilly. The rain has since stopped though it is still a bit dark, but every now and then I can see the sun fighting its way through the clouds. I think it will be a sunny afternoon.

We never had to do much back to school shopping. We wore uniforms so new clothes weren’t necessary. We got new shoes, new socks and new underwear. We had to go to the shoe store and have our feet measured before my mother could buy the shoes. They were always sturdy shoes which had to last as long as possible. I’d show my mother what I wanted, and she’d shake her head and show me what she wanted. We seldom agreed. I always lost. The socks were white or blue to match the uniform. The underwear was always cotton and always the same brand, Lollipop, a strange name for underwear. The underwear was never stylish, but it wouldn’t have embarrassed my mother had I been in an accident.

The best school shopping was for supplies. We’d buy a school bag usually one of those square ones with buckles and a couple of pockets, a notebook and some lined paper. My favorite new supplies were the pencil box and the lunch box. Those took time to choose. It couldn’t be just any lunch box. I wanted a character lunch box, maybe somebody I watched on TV like Annie Oakley or Rin Tin Tin. My mother never objected to whichever one I wanted. The pencil boxes had illustrations on the front usually of kids walking to school or sitting at their desks. The insides of the boxes were mostly identical: pencils, a 6 inch ruler, a small pencil sharpener, colored pencils, maybe an eraser and always a protractor, a complete mystery to me. I had no idea what it was and why it was. I had a ruler so I didn’t need it to draw straight lines. We never used it in school for anything. Once in a while in art I’d make a circle using it, but that was it. It mostly just took up space.

I used to look at my supplies and open and close the pencil box a few times. I’d put the supplies in my school bag, put the bag cross my shoulder and pretend I was going to school. It was a dress rehearsal of sorts. I was never sorry to go back to school.

“Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.”

September 9, 2013

Every morning is now the same: cool in the house from the cold nights while the outside air is warm with sun. Last night I woke up chilly and added an afghan to my bed. It’s not yet comforter weather, but we’re getting closer.

The worst is yet to come. Soon it will be shut down the deck time, my final acknowledgement that summer has ended. I’ll leave out a couple of chairs as I am ever hopeful for warm days and maybe enough sun to make me lazy and tired and ready for a nap.

Summer seemed to stretch forever when I was young. I was never mindful of the days passing. I’d ride my bike or walk the tracks or be at the playground throwing horseshoes, playing tennis or softball. By bedtime I was exhausted, and sleep came almost as soon as I closed my eyes. When my birthday came in August, I knew school wasn’t far away. The trip to the shoe store sealed my fate.

I was always excited the first day of school. I liked school and loved learning. It was the getting up early part I didn’t like. My mother always made breakfast. I was a cocoa drinker. Everyone else drank tea. My mother used a china tea-pot. It had flowers on it, and it always made the table look just a little bit fancy even without a tablecloth. We had eggs or oatmeal in the winter. On the warmer days we just had toast and cold cereal. I always wanted to be the first one to open a new bottle of milk so I could scoop the cream. I was a dunker and dunked my toast in the cocoa though graham crackers were always my favorite. It took skill in knowing exactly when to take the graham crackers out of the cup before the end dissolved. I was an expert.

My friend from up the street would knock at the back door so we could walk to school together. My mother would hand us our lunch boxes, we’d grab our school bags and off we’d go.


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