Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Back to School by Syndi Powell

There's a line from "You've Got Mail" where Tom Hanks talks about sending Meg Ryan a bouquet of sharpened pencils. Now I may be a dork, but that line always gets me because I can identify with it.

I loved the first day of school. I looked forward to shopping for pencils and notebooks. For finding the perfect first day outfit. The chance to redefine who I wanted to be that year.

I remember my favorite teachers (Mr. Hooks, Mr. Bassett, Mr. Madorski, Mr. Winfield, Miss McClellan). I remember my favorite subjects (English, of course, and history). I remember who I sat with at lunch (Urvi, Leslie and Brenda).

I was an all A student who didn't learn how to study until high school. I used flash cards to remember dates for history and vocabulary for French. And I wrote stories in my notebooks when I probably should have been dong math homework. My brain excelled with numbers, but it was words that excited my soul. I was addicted to stories whether it was writing or reading them. The plays of Shakespeare made me long to find my own Petruchio while studying the Salem witch trials encouraged me to resist giving in to peer pressure.

As millions of children return to school, I hope they can find their dreams and the paths to pursue them.

What kind of student were you? What were your favorite subjects at school? What are some of your fond memories?

13 comments:

  1. Hey Syndi! I loved school. I was never part of the popular crowd, but I always had my small group of close friends and a best friend. In all honesty, I considered my teachers to be my friends too...probably because I was pretty shy and I was blessed with teachers (usually a few in particular) who made me feel good about myself.

    A great teacher is priceless and the positive impact they have on shaping an individual lasts forever.

    As for my love of office and organization supplies, I'd love me a bouquet of sharpened pencils LOL.

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    1. Rula, I was the same way. I was more in the "nerd" crowd, but I had some good friends from that time.

      I'm a goner if I go into an office supply store. I could spend hours wandering the aisles :)

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  2. Gosh Syndi, if you only knew how long ago high school was for me....hm... I went to a really small school where we all started in first grade together and all graduated together. Even though it's been forever many of us still keep in contact. I loved everything about school. In small rural schools you get to do everything and be everything--no choosing a single sport or single extra curricular activity. We put out the school newspaper, the annual, did all for our 3 act plays and had small classes which is so great for learning. I still love learning. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. I think that's so cool that you still keep in touch. The most I do is "friend" them on Facebook these days.

      It's great that you were able to do everything and not have to focus on one in high school. I think I might have flourished more in that environment by exploring all my sides.

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  3. Syndi! What a wonderful post! It just so happens that last night Penny Wheeler Beingessner, with whom I went through school from seventh grade on, and for whom I was Maid of Honor 47 years ago (AAgghh!) stopped by to have dinner with us last night on her way home from Washington. She had brought our high school yearbook and lots of pamphlets from reunions I've missed. We were BFFs before the terms was created. I loved English and History, too! Was okay with Math until the 2nd half of Algebra, then lost my tentative grip on it. I, too, love that "bouquet of pencils" line, and though I now write my entire book on the computer, I plan and take notes with a paper and pen. I am excited by a dozen, shrink-wrapped yellow pads, and shopping for the perfect, pretty notebook to keep in my purse!

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    1. Aww, how wonderful that you could get together with your friend! Isn't it strange looking at yearbooks now? Do you ever wish you could go back to that girl you were then and tell her it would all be okay?

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  4. Muriel, Syndi, it goes to prove that deep down we're all amazingly alike!

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  5. Oh Syndi, I just LOVED this post... I was definitely a book nerd in the old fashioned, not hipster 'it's cool to be a geek', way. Trust me. There was NOTHING cool about me except that I loved to make up stories about our teachers. It was the only thing to kept me awake in class... even my English class was boring and I didn't fall in love with "literature" until I went to college and learned what it really meant. But the teacher stories I wrote... they were fun and my lunch table friends looked forward to hearing them. That is actually my favorite memory. Oh- and the lingerie my best friend and I once gave my racist Social teacher for Xmas (and got away with it)- but that is another story ;)

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    1. I love it! Do you still have any of those teacher stories?

      And I think you're going to have to share that lingerie story....

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  6. Make my bouquet crayons. I love the smell, I love the feel of coloring with new ones. I love the fresh point. I love that you can sharpen them, but once the paper is ripped back, it's just not the same and I want new ones. I was a science and math gal. I get more excited than my kids for the first day of school. I would love every year just to do the first day, enjoying the newness and excitement for things to come electrifying the air.

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    1. Tori, I'll send you those crayons. I'm a sucker for those too. There's nothing like the waxy smell of a new box of crayons. I still buy those for my nieces and nephews for Christmas.

      I remember that you were the math and science gal. What are your girls into?

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  7. I was a small school person, too, and love it more in retrospect than I did while I was there (though class reunion was a few weeks ago and it was FUN!) I'm still grateful to my teachers, though--there was no college for me, but they taught me enough that I've never felt overly handicapped by my lack of education. (Resentful, yes, but that's a different day. )

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