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It’s back-to-school time

By Clint Younts

It’s that time of year again when kids start whining, and parents are smiling. Teachers are fussing because of all the worthless hours of training that some politicians deem essential, and building contractors are apologizing for not finishing the construction of the new elementary school. Yup, it’s back-to-school time, and soon I won’t be able to turn left out of my driveway between the hours of 7 to 9 a.m.

Not all parents are happy about their children heading back to school so soon, especially after receiving the lengthy list of school supplies their little darlings will need this school year. I saw the list for children entering kindergarten and I was shocked! I reckon many of these items are essential, but does a 5-year-old really need composition books? When was the last time you read a novel written by someone who is still fascinated by boogers?

This list also included washable markers, dry-erase makers and highlighters. When I was five, I recall receiving some harsh punishment for creating a mural on my bedroom wall. I still shiver every time I see a Marks-a-Lot. I remember getting a new box of crayons to take to school, but we definitely never had markers.

Speakin’ of crayons, how many of y’all were given the box of just eight colors. Some of the rich kids brought those big boxes of 64 crayons, and I was so envious. I had no idea what a periwinkle was, but it sure is a pretty color. And to make matters worse, half of my crayons has Scotch tape wrapped around them. Except my white crayon. Who ever uses a white crayon?

 Today’s list of school supplies for elementary school includes a mess of #2 pencils. How many pencils does a 5-year-old need? I reckon if his nickname is Beaver, he might go through a box of pencils. Who remembers those pencils we used back in 1963? They were as thick as a fire log. We had to get our fathers to sharpen them with an ax. I’m not sure why they were so big, but I think teachers wanted something that we couldn’t stick up our noses.

Today’s kindergarteners have to take several bottles of Elmer’s glue. Remember what we used back in 1963? No, not tree sap. That was what the kids used in ’61. We had that delicious paste. One reason I failed art class was because I ran out of paste on the 3rd day of school, and I was told I didn’t poop until the 10th day of school.

Let’s get back to those composition books. In the first grade, we used a Big Chief tablet. This is what I used to learn how to write my name and to draw pictures with my seven crayons. The school nurse threw away my white one after extracting it from my left nostril. No composition book for us back then. Just a simple tablet. In this day and age, I doubt you could take a Big Chief tablet to school. 

Little tykes these days get to tote their supplies to school in fancy backpacks. We didn’t own backpacks back then, probably since they were all used up during WWII. Back in 1963, on the night before the first day of school, my mother would gather up my new box of 8 crayons, my Big Chief tablet, a bottle of yummy paste, scissors so dull they couldn’t cut through fog, and a pencil that looked like it was supplied by Paul Bunyan, and put them all in a Piggly Wiggly grocery bag.

Yup, times have sure changed since I went to elementary school. Back then, parents supported the teachers, kids said the Pledge of Allegiance, and you didn’t spend a fortune on school supplies. I am a little curious about something, though. What does an ENT charge to remove a scented dry-erase from your nostril? I’m asking for a friend.

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