School Supplies!

Do you remember shopping for school supplies?

The setting: late August, hot and sweaty but with a chill in the evenings that signaled the coming of a beautiful Wisconsin fall.  The back-to-school coupons would have been filling the mailbox for weeks.

I remember pouring over the school’s list of required supplies for days trying to imagine what what wonders of elementary education might require 2 bottles of glue and 5 separate 2 pocket folders.

What glorious projects would I use my 32 ct. crayons for?  Which notebook covers were really “me?”  Did the flashcard requirement mean I was finally becoming grown up?

In Kindergarten neon-colored Elmer’s glue was the it accessory for Mrs. Barnes’ afternoon class.

In 4th grade I bought folders with NBA players on them.  Inspired by Little Giants and the coming onslaught of adolescence, I had decided to forgo an attempt at pretty-girl popularity and settle instead for quirky tomb0y-despite being short and woefully uncoordinated on the recess football field.

In 5th and 6th grades I bought old school composition books exclusively because I thought they were cool and classic and perfectly suited to my dreams of becoming a writer.

Even now, the middle of August reminds me that it’s time to shop for school supplies.  In my head there seems to exist this primal, emotional equation:

bountiful watermelon supply + sunset before 8pm + boredom with summer heat and humidity = time for school supplies.

And even here in China, especially here in China, I can’t help myself.

So we walked into the local Carrefour yesterday looking for a humidifier, and instead we walked out with notebooks and Watermelon Boy pastels.

At $3.00 total, it was a cheap but oh-so-satisfying thrill.  I clutched my purchases to my chest as we walked out of the store, imagining the possibilities for writing and drawing on the tantalizing plain brown covers.

And here in China, the notebooks are so fun!  Cheap and thin but hilarious with poetically inappropriate Chinglish sayings on the covers and surprisingly stunning Anime/Precious Moments style illustrations on all of the pages.

Who needs school supplies?  What were your favorites growing up?


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