- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Preparing children to go back to school can be costly, but necessary to make sure a productive day in the classroom is possible.
Going back-to-school shopping has been an expensive outing long before gas was $4 a gallon. Even though it was an expensive time of year, my parents made sure we had everything we needed, and most times a little more.
The school supply list never said we needed more than 24 crayons, but no kid can resist the jumbo-sized 96-count box. Colors like macaroni and cheese and razzmatazz are just too cool not to color with. If you had the jumbo box, you were automatically one of the most popular kids in class. Needless to say, I was pretty popular in elementary school.
Picking out the perfect lunch box was a pretty big deal, especially when it was the first one I would ever use.
The summer before I started first grade, the New Kids on the Block were a pretty big deal. Somehow my sister and I ended up picking the same neon-orange NKOTB lunch box. It didn’t pose a problem until one lunch when I was heartbroken to see a salami sandwich instead of my usual peanut butter and grape jelly with the crusts cut off.
I’m sure it wasn’t her fault, but I was so mad at my mom for getting it wrong. I mean really, what kid eats a salami sandwich anyway?
My mom, sister and I would come home from clothes shopping, and without fail, Mom would end up spending more on us than she originally planned. Once we pulled into the garage, we were only allowed to bring one bag of clothes upstairs.
The rest were always left in the trunk of the car or hidden in the basement for us to bring up once Dad went to work the next day.
“I don’t want your dad to see it all at once.” “Only show him one thing.” “Don’t you dare tell him how much that cost.” “Cut the price tag off before you show him that,” she’d say.
He’d find out how much she spent later when the Visa bill came, but at least she’d have a few weeks to convince him how much we needed the new school clothes and he’d have a chance to see how excited we were about them.
Once it was time to go to college, it was Dad’s turn to take me shopping. We went computer shopping one afternoon, and he made sure to get me one that worked well, came with all the warranties and even bought me a movie to play in its DVD player.
“Don’t tell your mom.” “Let’s keep this between us,” he said.
I like that it’s the little things about growing up I remember most. A box of crayons and a lunch box were more important than how big my house was or what kind of cars my parents drove.
I’d like to think in another 20 years, I can look back at my life and appreciate the small things that made a difference.