Summer Vacation and Back to School Lists

I am in the midst of a two-week break from my college studies.  Not really a vacation, but enough time to take a deep breath and focus on some personal writing and packing for the upcoming move.
I am reminded of summer vacations from my youth.  I remember that when school was out a few of us always asked for the old textbooks that were to be tossed in the trash.  A few times we scored a teacher’s edition – that was like gold – then for some crazy reason we “played school” during the summer break.   We would take turns being the teacher, since we had the book with all the answers.  That was the best.
Then towards the end of the summer we received the back-to-school list:  Pee-Chee Folders, protractor, compass, ink-cartridge pens, plastic zipper case, and wide-ruled binder paper.  And of course the rectangular pink eraser and pencils.
In regards to the compass – with the point on one end and lead pencil on the other, seems to me that could have been quite a weapon in the wrong hands.  Of course, many-a-desks were carved with the sharp end.  Never did it myself, but knew quite a few that did.
And the ink-cartridge pens.  Wow, I can’t believe what a mess those were.  I went to Catholic school first through eighth grade. We wore white shirts with our uniforms. And with just the right flick of the wrist and a full pen, one could leave a trail of blue dots on the back of the shirt of the student sitting in front of you (or anywhere within several feet away).  Yes, I do confess to doing this dirty deed.  I couldn’t throw a baseball or football, but I could leave a trail of dots from ten feet away with exact precision.  And of course there was the poor kid that could never put the new cartridge in just quite right.  He was the one with the permanent stain of Lake Eire on his desk all year, and ink on the front of his shirt from the overflow.
Times have changed.  I homeschool my son – 11th grade this year.  He’s a junior in high school, me, a junior in college.  No more back to school lists, ink-cartridge pens or plastic zipper cases.  I do purchase binder paper, college bound – because I am not bound by a list.  Maybe I’ll look for a Pee-Chee folder, do they still make those?

What is your favorite memory about back-to-school shopping?

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