Back to school then and now

The thrill is gone at the start of the year with older kids, now

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

UTKellyRev2ColumnBACK TO SCHOOL: THEN (meaning 5 years ago) vs. NOW


  • Brand new backpack (ordered WEEKS in advance) with coordinating lunchbox (and superhero thermos) containing things like carrot sticks, goldfish crackers and a love note from Mommy!


  • Backpack from last year (ripped and tattered. Who cares?!)  SuperFresh plastic bag containing a sandwich (HOPEFULLY).  NO added note.  (Eye roll)


  • Sharpened pencils, colored markers, tape, glue, stickers, tissues, crayons, book covers


  • Phone, maybe a random pencil nub (it’s FINE, Mom!)


  • GAP khaki cargo shorts, polo shirt with prep school emblem, squeaky clean sneakers, fresh haircut, twelve hours of sleep


  • Basketball shorts (grass stained from summer games of “touch” football in the yard), black knee socks and slides (still can’t wrap my brain around this one), t-shirt from summer camp, maybe seven hours of shut eye (after all, six in the morning has been the middle of the night for two and a half months)


  • Thrilled to ride the bus and even more excited to come home and relay the events of the day over a snack


  • General lack of enthusiasm for the early start.  After school prompting of first impression usually resulting in “fine, boring, nothing, OK”

Oh, how I miss the exhilaration of those elementary years!  I do not miss the additional paperwork of the lower grades, however.  How many “Emergency Contact” forms does one district need for heaven’s sake?  Don’t they know us by now?

To be honest, this summer felt particularly fast and I am not ready for the school year to begin quite yet.  But, come hell or high water, Monday is happening.  Do not forget to set the alarm clock and have clothes laid out and lunches packed to ease the transition.  Too neurotic?  Maybe so, but every bit of organization helps!

Happy LAST day of summer break!  Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

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One Comment

  1. Mike McGann says:

    Well…here where there are two seventh graders (and classmates of your youngest), there is a surprising amount of enthusiasm. My son Kenny is actually singing and dancing, he’s so excited. And both kids are kind of into their new clothes and shoes. (The lack of any high schoolers in the house may be the differing factor) I can say that Kenny is banned from the unfortunate wearing of black socks and sandals. While I know it is cool (how, I can’t imagine as mixing socks and sandals is about as cool as a coke furnace), this horrible fashion trend reminds me of the time in 1999 I quite literally ran into William Shatner in the middle of a Hawaiian jungle (I was on a tour, he was filming a National Geographic documentary) and he was wearing sandals and socks. I still have nightmares.

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