Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to School!

Probably I loved school more than just about anyone. Everything connected with going back to school after summer vacation excited me. I never remember feeling nervous or afraid, just eager to collect my new school supplies, put on my new school dress, grab my lunch sack, and off I'd go.

During the last few weeks, I've been a part of a school supply drive for a particular elementary school, one that has a majority of indigent children, some living in foster homes, and too many with one....or both....parents in prison. This has been an eye-opening experience for me.
The amount of supplies each child needs is rather astounding. Crayolas, dry-erase markers, washable markers, colored pencils, Fiskars, manila and colored construction paper, glue, folders with brads and pockets, ring binders, spiral notebooks, loose-leaf notebook paper, kleenex, box of ziplock baggies, hand sanitizer, 12 pencils, erasers, a ruler, and a backpack.
And this is for first graders.

One thing has cheered me, though, in collecting these items by the truck load--children still use paper and a pencil. Now, just think about that. There are teachers and educators in the nation that believe possibilities using these two items still exist. Just when I thought every child would only need a computer, a calculator, and an e-reader, my faith in the teaching and upbringing of a child is still a simple thing.

Think about this. When I remember going to school, the smell and feel of items was as important to me as actually using them. Electronic gadgets are not touchy-feely, nor do they have the memorable odor of crayons, school glue, or a Big Chief tablet. (Are these even made anymore?)

I'm not saying children don't need electronic items to learn--they will in today's world. But not in early elementary school. Give each one a backpack filled with new supplies and you'll see smiles and giggles and eagerness.

I hear the school bell ringing! No, wait. That's a buzzer. I hate those things.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas  


  1. Hi Celia,

    I enjoyed the first day of school too, except for having to wear shoes. We didn't have backpacks in the dark ages, but we must have had something to carry supplies in. I'm remembering a little satchel, but whatever it was, it never lasted long. Country kids like me were rough on supplies.

    Nothing like the smell of an art gum eraser or the thrill of those factory perfect crayons.

    Ah, the good old days.

  2. That Big Chief notebook sure brought back memories. I had a book satchel and that sucker carried everything I owned. It was like dragging around an anvil but I just couldn't part with my "things". Besides pencils, crayons, and a ruler all tucked into my new pencil box, I also had a rubber ball, jacks and a harmonica. There are just some things you can't leave at home.
    Like most kids from the Jurassic period that I grew up in, we didn't have to have a lot of supplies because the scool provided many of the things we needed. But I think with all the cutbacks in money for schools that parents have to provide those things. Amazingly, I found out from my source of all things, Opra Winfry, that teachers often supply those things out of pocket. I think that's outrageous, too. Free education isn't really free, is it?
    In my early years I just saw school as an interruption to my summer vacations. It wasn't until I entered junior high (now called middle school) that school drew my interest.
    I love the smell of pencils, paper and the ink they used to use to mimeograph with. I did not sniff glue but I confess I did eat some once.

  3. Celia--I didn't like the first week at school, but I loved my new books, particularly my History book that I used to read and study even before starting school.

  4. MAGGIE--YES, you're a smeller, too. Erasers...of course they had a special smell. I even liked the was and oil they cleaned the floors with--the early ones were wood, you know.
    You probably had a book satchel--I had one and loved it...wish I still had it. Thanks for your memories...Celia

  5. See, Sarah, you remember the book satchel. I loved mine--did you know they still make those today? Pretty much like those we used! And some are so pretty and some very expensive. I think I may have to get one. Love those things.Yes, I carried my ball and jacks, too, in mine--not harmonica, though!
    In collecting these supplies, I also learned that these teacher spend their own money for extra supplies. Land, I can't stand that. We'll probably have another drive before or after Christmas.
    Thanks for your memories...Celia

  6. I always get antsy about this time of year. I want the new beginning of a new school year--a chance to start fresh.

    Have you read the news reports that schools are no longer teaching cursive? That's sad. Imagine what'll happen if the apocalypse comes and we have no place to plug in our keyboards?

  7. MONA--you didn't like the first week of school? I couldn't wait to make new friends and find out who liked me. Me? I always thought everyone did! Little did I know that not everyone did, and I found out the hard way a couple of times.

  8. KEENA--YOU MADE me laugh. Yep, we're going to be in big trouble if people have to start writing cursive instead of punching keys.
    I's a sad thing.
    My three grandsons--13, 12, and 8--have to write thank you letters to us for any gifts or nice visits. Oh, I treasure each one. And all three can write cursive--not real well,,,,but they know how.

  9. Most schools aren't teaching cursive anymore. None of my grandkids have had any penmanship at all. Even with printing, no one cares how they draw the letter, as long at it's readable.

    As for supplies, I think all these supplies are flat-out ridiculous and many parents can't afford them. No, these parents make too much money to get anything from charity, and instead of foodstamps, their budgets are so low that these kids are eating ramen most nights.

    As for me, I never looked forward to school just because I was so backward and it was hard to socialize. Our supplies consisted of a tablet, two pencils, an eraser, 16-ct crayons, and a ruler. The school didn't buy additional supplies other than textbooks (1 for every 2 students) nor did the teacher provide any.

    Of course, we walked home from school by ourselves, too. Times have changed.

  10. I didn't carry a ball and jacks, but I did carry a pocket knife every day K through 12 - something that would get my grandsons thrown out in a heartbeat.
    Off subject but important!
    I was so pleased to get an email from you this morning, then I opened it and read:

    Hope you get this on time,I made a trip this past weekend to Malaga,Spain and had my bag stolen from me with my passport and credit cards in it.The embassy is willing to help by letting me fly without my passport,I just have to pay for a ticket and settle Hotel bills.Unfortunately for me, I can't have access to funds without my credit card, I've made contact with my bank but they need more time to come up with a new one.I was thinking of asking you to lend me some quick funds that I can give back as soon as I get in.I really need to be on the next available flight.

    I can forward you details on how you can get the funds to me. You can reach me via email or May Field hotel's desk phone,the numbers are, +3408447744847

    I await your response..
    Celia Yeary
    Obviously, one of your email accounts has been compromised.

  11. Hi Celia,
    As a parent who just helped her kids label all their school supplies, I can attest to the vast number of materials needed to begin the year. And as a teacher, I thank you for devoting your time to helping prepare others for the start of the year. I'm sure your efforts will bring many smiles on that first day of school!

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Jacquie--yes, you and I grew up alike. The simple basics. I don't remember Mother ever buying construction paper and paste, but we had plenty of it when art time came around.
    I learned--from doing this school supply drive--that many, many students come to school with nothing. Their parents could not afford to buy anything--so what the other parents bought, those that could afford to, is shared. In other words, the supplies are taken up and stored in a closet. This insures that if a child needs a kleenex, there are boxes in the closet.
    I know we "haves" must help the "have nots" but sometimes I wonder if the parents might buy supplies instead of, say, beer or huge bottles of soda.
    And there I go again, judging people, when I tell myself to stop.

  14. Hello, Bob--Our young grandsons get a pocket knife when they turn ten....but cannot take it to school. I hope one day one of them doesn't forget and takes it in a pocket.
    Oh, yes, I knew yesterday morning before I had a sip of coffee or had my eyes open good. I got phone calls all morning from darling friends who though I really might be in Spain, when every one of them knew...or should have...that I had been out of town burying my Mother!
    Then I received at least 150 emails alerting me--all the way from Hawaii and the UK. I answered every one of them, knowing they were concerned about me. Wow~! I didn't know I had so many friends.
    So, thank you very much! We need to watch each other's back.

  15. DEBBIE--thank you for that. I appreciate it. We did this through our church, and our members always respond to anything like this in a big way. I appreciated every donation--and we had a truck full. Now, there's more at the church we need to get to the school.

  16. Celia, I was always nervous on the first day of school, but I got over the jitters quickly once I got into the routine. I liked going to school and learning and so do my boys.

    Both the boys' teachers asked for help in the supplies dept. While I don't mind giving to them, I'm a bit miffed that bureucrats have mismanaged my money so much that they can't basic supplies needed in the classroom. Bless you for doing so much for the kids. They do appreciate it.


  17. Steph--I guess it's a widespread problem. You know one things that's wrong? We're educating a lot of illegal children, who have nothing unless we give it to them...and of course, we do...what else can we do with our laws as they are? Very frustrating. Celia