August 24, 2011

Back To School Memories


Back To School Supplies © Carlos Caetano -

I loved school! It was an escape from the very odd life I had. I grew up in the projects for most of my life. Until my mom remarried when I was 12. Even though my brother and I were the only white kids, we lived in the projects so we got bussed. Integrated schools were all the rage in the 1970s!

But as much as I didn’t fit in, I really tried. I truly loved school and wanted to be one of the smart kids. Because smart kids were special. And I wanted to be special so I could dit in and be like the other kids.

Going back to school meant I got to meet an entirely different group of people. It meant I would be able to read books I had no idea existed and learn about science and math and go outside and play games on soft grass or into a cooled gym. Very different than what I usually did.

I remember picking out my new back to school clothes. They were few, but I cherished them. I tried to pick out ones that cool kids would wear. I was skinny and shy and very girly. And I had short hair. Always had short hair growing up. I wanted to make a good impression. And hoped and prayed no one would look down and see my shoes. I never work cool shoes. I had orthopedic shoes for most of elementary and junior high. Ugly orthopedic shoes. Except one year when saddle shoes were popular and they made them for me too.

I wanted to fit in. And for the most part I did. I had friends and I was one of the smart kids. And while there was so much to navigate on the back to school scene, I would tell myself to just be who I was. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. Going to 5 different elementary schools didn’t help with consistency either. By time I graduated from high school I had been enrolled in 12 different schools – one school I went to for just 3 days!

As I transition this year from pure homeschooling to a small self-contained class for BabyGirl I have so many thoughts about back to school. I’m excited for the possibilities. I’m fearful for the unknown. And I’m at a loss, sometimes, for what to tell her. I want her to be herself. I don’t want kids to make fun of her lunch or her shoes or her clothes.

Being part of the Horizon Dairy Blog Frog Back To School community couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s a safe place for me to ask questions about how back to school works, what to expect from teachers and the parent organizations and how to keep my sanity with dinner/homework/after school activities. My biggest concern has been what to make BabyGirl for lunch. Eating at home has given us so much flexibility. But now that she will be with other kids I don’t want her feeling awkward about her meal.

There are quite a few moms in the Back To School community who have kids in junior high and high school. They’re a wonderful resource. Add to it those women who have kid-friendly recipes that will encourage kids to eat their lunch and not trade it. We’ve even discussed time savers and how to help kids keep themselves organized so they’re not searching the house for their things at the last minute.

I have so many great memories of back to school. I truly could go on and on about picking the right outfit, making brown paper book covers, saving cereal boxes to make crafts and so forth. Instead, I’d love to hear about your back to school memories.


Disclosure: I am a compensated Horizon Back To School Community Leader at The Blog Frog. This post is provided as part of my role as a Community Leader. This post has not been reviewed by a third party and all opinions are my own. This conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon.  The opinions expressed by me do not necessarily reflect the view of the Horizon Organic brand. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.



shifra August 25, 2011 at 5:50 am

The lunch thing wasn’t so easy when my kid went to school. The other kids made fun of her hard boiled egg and broccoli because they smelled. She wanted “Lunchables” because that’s what other kids ate. The longer she was there, the more limited her palate (for lunch only, thank goodness).

You, on the other hand, I love your blog because I love hearing about the stories from your past. And they make me love you even more!

Sara August 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Hi Shifra,

Lunchable? Ugh! Lunchtime peer pressure is really strong isn’t it? I always think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the lunchroom experience she had. It makes me sad that kids want such junk.


Oopon August 30, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I remember from about 3rd grade to 6th grade the best part about going back to school was picking out a Trapper Keeper. Then on the first day of class being able to show off the trapper keeper to all your friends. If you had the best Trapper Keeper in the class you were instantly respected. I didn’t care much about clothes. All I wanted was the coolest Trapper Keeper ever and the best mechanical pencil money could by. Good times!

Sara August 30, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I have a Trapper Keeper! It’s purple. I didn’t discover mechanical pencils until high school and fell in love with them. Sadly, before that I had to get through the phase of erasable pens. What a mess.

Maybe I should post a picture of my Trapper Keeper?

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