In the fall
“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”
― Nora Ephron
I love fall because it is connected with my happiest memories of childhood. In particular, the onset of cooler mornings and the sight of children headed back to school evokes the excitement I always felt at the beginning of each year, when anything seemed possible. A new teacher, a new set of classmates, new books, visits to the school library (of which I could NEVER get enough) and yes, school supplies. My first few years of school established a love of pencils, pens, crayons, glue, tape and paper that has lasted to this day.
How I envied those children who came to school with bright new boxes of SIXTY-FOUR different color crayons! Even now, at the age of nearly 57, I have never yet owned such a magnificent range of creative possibilities in wax. Because my mother was frugal, I had to settle for the school-issued box of 8 fat crayons with their frustratingly broad tips that only grew less defined with use – and there was no way to sharpen them, either. Still, I was happy to get a new set each year.
Despite being without the most appealing and flashy educational accoutrements, I had abundant delightful provisions to enjoy. I wish some perfumer would bottle a fragrance that was a combination of scents that included pencil shavings, powdered tempera paint mix, chalk, duplicator fluid, freshly bound books, and the smell of new pulp tablets – with maybe some freshly baked cafeteria buttered yeast rolls thrown in. I would buy that bouquet in huge quantities if I could. The back-to-school smell quickened my spirit as nothing else has since. I feel sad to realize that computers and related technologies have rendered many of these supplies obsolete, though our children’s children will have other things to remember.
What are some of your favorite back-to-school memories?