Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It Can’t Be That Time Already, Can It? by Carol Ross and Amy Vastine

Kids are talking about it. Some parents are dreading it. Others are looking (very) forward to it. Sadly, just saying it feels like our beloved summer is coming to an end. Unfortunately, we can’t stop it. So let’s embrace it (at least for the purposes of this blog post.) That’s right, you guessed it, it’s back to school time!

We thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite (and not so favorite) back to school memories.

Carol ~ 

Some of my earliest memories in life are turning green with envy as, year after year after year, my four older siblings went back to school shopping. And nothing made me more jealous than those lunchboxes. Oh, how I longed for one of those brightly colored, character-covered, treasure-holders where Mom packed lunches the likes of which I never saw at home. Everything was tidily wrapped and tucked inside just so; sandwiches folded in wax paper (paper that doubled as your placemat!) Whole shiny red apples (not cut into slices as they were served at home), baggies filled with orange sections (already peeled!) And cookies! Even the occasional store-bought treat. One of the best days of my life was the one when I got my school-bus-shaped lunch box complete with happy, eager, carefree Disney characters on their way to school. Like I soon would be! Yippee!


Here it is. The coolest lunchbox in the world. (Carol used it for four years.)

That school bus was also calling my name. Needless to say, when the first day of Kindergarten arrived I was eager to scale those three giant stairs along with my lunchbox and proudly take my seat on bus #15.

Of course, I had no idea of the horror that awaited me there. Upon arrival, I quickly learned that I was expected to stay there for the entire day where I was then subjected to such torments as taking a nap on a rug on the rock hard floor, drinking warm juice, and singing. I begged to be a Kindergarten drop out. Cruelly, my mom denied this perfectly reasonable request. I cried pretty much every day thereafter, with that lunchbox and recess as my only sources of solace. 

Amy~

Being the oldest in my family, I’m sure I was quite the opposite of Carol. When I was little, my brothers got to stay home with mom, living it up while I had to go to school! So unfair. 

But my best memory is of my first day of high school. I think about it a lot this year as my daughter is facing her first day of high school one week from today. She is so nervous and that is exactly how I remember feeling. I can still picture myself pacing in the family room bright and early that first day, wondering what was going to happen to me at that humongous school down the street where kids who were old enough to DRIVE went to school. 


Amy rocked this place with her really big bangs and Benetton sweater.

I had carefully chosen my outfit the night before and was feeling pretty good about how stylish my new fall wardrobe from Benetton was. My permed curls were moussed and my bangs were blow-dried so they poofed exactly the way they were supposed to in 1988.

My dad was kind enough to drive me to school that first day and I remember thinking I wasn’t going to know anyone (even though half the kids I went to junior high with were going to be there). As I walked toward the doors, my friend Jorie appeared out of what seemed like nowhere. Relieved to know I wasn’t alone, we clung to one another for dear life and entered the building together. 

Little did I know I would meet the boy who would become my husband two years later or get to meet the President of the United States almost three years later when I was chosen to represent my school at a Drug-Free recognition ceremony in Washington DC. High school was pretty amazing. 

I am actually meeting Jorie for lunch tomorrow and am blessed to still have her friendship all these years later. I hope my daughter will look back on her first day with the same fondness that I do. And I hope she has that friend who sticks by her side as she begins this new adventure in life!


What’s your earliest or best or worst back to school memory? Did you miss the bus or put your shirt on inside out? Meet your real-life hero? Trip in the lunchroom and spill your chili and cornbread all over your teacher (yep, that’s a blog post for another day)? We’d love to hear about it!


30 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post, Carol and Amy! I love your lunch box, Carol, but I wish you would have ended your post on a high note. I feel so terrible for the little girl you were, taking solace in a lunch box and recces. Big hugs to the little girl you were.

    As for Amy's post, I love to hear about real-life stories of high-school sweethearts finding HEAs. I am so glad you found yours with you high-school sweetheart!

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    1. Oh, Kate, that is so sweet! Thank you. But, honestly, there was no happy ending until I started first grade Lol.

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  2. What a great post, ladies! I miss the fun lunch boxes. My favorite one was HR Puff-n-Stuff, until I had to "grow" up, according to my older sister. I graduated to Charlies Angels. :)
    One of my worst memories was during the third grade. My mother made me wear knickers to school...I was mortified, but she thought I looked 'cute.' Oh, to complete the outfit, I wore white "go-go" boots.

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    1. Jill, hilarious! HR Puff-n-Stuff is pretty cool beans, too. Was there anything worse than Mom stuffing you into an outfit that you hated? I was always baffled by her taste in clothing. Of course, now that I'm older I get it (as I shake my head at what these young kids think is fashionable, lol).

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  3. Thanks for a trip down memory lane Carol and Amy. The lunchboxes....yes, I certainly remember the joy of shopping for those.
    My earliest back to school memory was kindergarten. I cried so much my grandmother had to come and get me. In time I adjusted. My worst was the first day of junior high school. My mother insisted that I be allowed to attend a school that I was supposedly not zoned for. I was accepted in and on the first day watched as all 36 kids filed in. I was the only minority in the entire class!! Needless to say I felt like a fish out of water for some time. The following year my best friend Charlene was moved into my class and that made it a whole lot better. By H.S., our classrooms were more integrated, and we all had a great time. In fact, those are the fondest of my memories. A mixture of students who were bright and funny and who enjoyed one another's company.

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    1. Laurie, I'm so glad to hear there's another "kindergarten crier" out there. The year I started school was the first year they had all-day class for kindergarten. I didn't go to pre-school and rarely ever even had a babysitter (who wasn't my big sister.) It was a rough transition.
      I'm so sorry about your junior high experience. It's tough enough at that age not to know anyone, but to be the only minority must have been a struggle. So glad you adjusted and I feel the same way about having a nice mix of kids.

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  4. I grew up in a very small town and we didn't have kindergarten. Everyone started in first grade. We all walked to school and also walked home for lunch until my Freshman year and we were bussed to another town to school. My sophomore year we consolidated with a different town, and one that had been our arch rival in sports for years. That was a tough year, but we eventually got over it and made friends. I loved school as did my two girls, so no bad scenes for me. Most of us went all 12 years together and so even though we've moved around now, we still keep in touch. If we could do one thing to help education I think it would be to ensure smaller schools. IMHO.

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    1. Roz, totally agree about the small schools! My school was small and most of us were together through all 12 years. I still have such an affinity for most of these people and several members of my class are still among my very best friends. I also liked school. My post-kindergarten trauma faded in first grade.

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  5. Wonderful post. My first day in kindergarten was a nightmare. I had such pain in my leg. I couldn’t get up stairs, and my mother had to carry me on and off the bus. Our doctor had convinced her that I should get my vaccination for small pox in my leg instead of my arm. This way I wouldn’t have an ugly scar on my arm when I wore fancy dresses for dancing. Believe me, I was in a bathing suit a lot more times than I ever was in a ball gown. And as my skinny legs expanded, so did that scar and ultimately became the size of a white quarter. Everyone had those tiny scars on their arms (no one on their legs) and eventually I got mine when I had to be revaccinated to go to college and again when I went to Europe.

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    1. Oh, Marion, that is awful! I'm so sorry. Your doctor sounds like a moron. It makes my crying about being homesick sound a little silly. Imagine if I'd really had something to cry about?! Those small pox vaccinations were terrible for scarring.

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  6. This is a great post, ladies and obviously brings back lots of memories for all of us. We didn't have a bus to our school since I was in Parochial school. We walked or rode bikes, once we earned enough money to pay half the cost of the used bike and in the winter, there were early "car pool" efforts by the neighbors. I loved grade school but was so intimidated by high school, lockers, combination locks to remember, changing classrooms and gym classes! Oh, my!...truly...my stomach was in twists for four years. Still, I grew to love it and the teachers.

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    1. Thank you, Catherine! We were hoping we'd dredge up some good memories as well as those awkward ones. I think laughing about the bad stuff helps to take its power away. Those locker combinations got to me, too. Half the time I would confuse the combination with my regular locker with my gym locker, or mix up the numbers and get flustered. Thankfully, my locker partner was one of my best friends and was always there to bail me out.

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  7. I remember wearing a little black leather mini skirt and black leather fringed vest to kindergarten
    I loved elementary school, those first few years. As an only child who was born with a giant social gene, being around lots of other kids worked for me.
    We moved in 4th grade. Not so good.
    Junior high scarred me for LIFE.
    I came out of it at 16 and did okay.
    Great lunchbox, Carol.
    And, Amy, which president. I could go look, but I'd rather hear more.

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    1. Oh, Pamela, I bet that mini skirt and fringed vest was adorable! You'd think coming from a big family (tons of cousins as well as siblings) I would have been better prepared for kindergarten. Junior high is just terrible in general, right? I'd like to know more about Amy's presidential visit, too! I think it might be a source for its own blog post.

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    2. I got to meet George H. W. Bush - it was very exciting. We were in the Rose Garden and he came out and shook a few of our hands before he gave us his speech. As soon as he shook mine, I turned around and my principal and guidance counselor (who came as my chaperones) were freaking out! They were definitely living vicariously through me! LOL

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    3. I was in college when George H.W. ran for president, journalism major. I remember that Chuck Conners came to campus and spoke in Bush's favor. I covered the talk. Course, you're too young to remember the Rifleman. heheheh

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  8. Those are lovely memories from both of you. I loved both attending school and teaching school, but I love retirement even more.

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    1. Thank you, Patricia. I can only imagine how great retirement would be after spending that much time at school.

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  9. I have to agree on that lunchbox, Carol. Way cool! I wore a uniform from Kindergarten through Sr. year of high school (to this day I can't wear plaid), so wardrobe choices were nil . But the lunchbox and backpack? Those were fun to choose! And the school supplies . Thanks for a great post!

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    1. Thanks, Anna! I had a feeling you'd appreciate my lunchbox(: I always thought it would be kind of cool to wear a uniform because then I'd never have to agonize about what I was going to wear. But I see your point about the plaid and that's hilarious.

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  10. Glad you've recovered from your trauma, Carol. Great post, you guys. No kindergarten in my school either so my first day was in first grade. I must have thought all those new kids were terrific because I failed to go home that afternoon. Instead, I tagged along with this cute blond, blue-eyed boy who had befriended me. My mom must have been frantic until his mother phoned mine to tell her where I was. A first date at the age of six? πŸ™‚

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    1. OMG Leigh, that is the cutest story ever! But I would have freaked out if my little girl didn't come home!!

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  11. Leigh! This is THE cutest, funniest story!! (Aside from your poor mom.) You were already a romantic at six years of age.

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  12. Great post! I wish I'd had a chance to visit earlier today! I loved school. But with only 13 people in my class, it was easy to fit in. I roamed the halls with high schoolers, sharing the same teachers, lockers, gym and lunch room since 7th grade, so I didn't have any of the anxiety about high school some kids have.

    I did love lunch. My grandmother lived a block from the school, so everyday I walked home for lunch. She was the best cook and bonus, in high school I could catch 30 minutes of my favorite soap (Days of Our Lives).

    My best friend and I have been together since kindergarten. She and I entered kindergarten already reading, so the two of us got sent to the library corner and forgotten about while the teacher worked with the other students. 40+ years later, we are still best friends.

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    1. I loved Days of our Lives!! The best part of off campus lunch in high school was stopping at home to watch a little bit!!

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  13. This is a great time of year for all of us who love stationery stuff! I was also a kindergarten crier for the first day, then really got into having friends. I was in parochial school also in the Stone Age when we had no playground equipment, but played jump-rope, hopscotch, or just ran around like crazies. Carried a brown-bag lunch, and when my mom gave me a Portuguese sausage sandwich, she included a Sucret (anyone remember those?) I loved school, but loved that when I was finally out, I could read whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and write to my heart's content. Still doing that. Fun post, Guys!

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    1. I love school supply shopping too. I like buying cute stuff for myself! And I totally can relate to wanting to read but wanting to read what I wanted to read not what school made me read :)

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  14. I desperately wanted to go to school like my big brothers. My mother decided to try and get me in a year early (I had a fall birthday). I ran around the house getting all my supplies together, but they wouldn't let me in. Instead, my mother bought some workbooks and I'd sit at my little table and play "school." When I finally made it to real school, I loved it.

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    1. LOL - playing school is sometimes all a mom can do! I remember when my youngest was the only one not in school and on the first day of school, my husband kept promising he was going to take Ryan on the "daddy bus" to daycare. Ryan was very excited until he found out that the daddy bus was daddy's car. He was not pleased. It was not big and it was not yellow.

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  15. Love this post, Amy and Carol (as always ;)). This month, we're facing our eldest's first day of college. I'm working on keeping everyone's nerves cool lol ;).

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