Today my daughters start school again. While the summer has been fun with lots of swimming, trips to the library, picnics and Friday night movie night at home the girls are ready to go back to school.
I keep hearing that things are so different from when I was their age and that kids are a lot more advanced than we were at that age. Well, I beg to differ on that score.
I remember back in the 1960s when I was their age being measured by my mom and then my school clothes were ordered from the Sears catalog. It was always chubby girl dresses for me (we weren't allowed to wear pants back in the stone age). My mom would take each of us out separately on the Saturdays leading up to the start of the school year (Mom and Dad had one car and Dad used it for work during the week). We'd go to the Buster Brown shoe store and get our school shoes and then Mom would take us to the Woolworth's lunch counter for a hot dog, fries and a coke. My Mom would take out her small pair of scissors and cut my straw so I didn't tip over my glass of soda. Going out with Mom was a major treat and I had real one on one time with no outside interruptions (being the oldest of four kids there were always plenty of those).
Sunday evenings were spent at my Nonna (grandmother) and Nonno's (grandfather) house where we would have dinner. Then Nonna and Nonno would take us out to the yard where Nonno would cut either forsythia branches, peonies or lilacs for us to take into our teachers the next day at school.
Then on Monday off you went to school. We'd walk up Main Street in Cold Spring from Market Street up to the Haldane School in Cold Spring, New York. All the teachers knew my Uncle Charlie. They'd ask me if I was Charlie Nobile's niece and I'd say yes but my Dad is Joe Nobile. The same comment came back every time. "We don't know Joe but we know Charlie."
We'd spend the day reading Dick and Jane and it was when learning to read that we discovered I needed glasses because I couldn't read at all. Once I got those cats eye glasses, though, a whole new world opened up for me and I was on fire with reading. At Christmas time I'd bring in a plate of cookies for my teachers to thank them for all their hard work.
For my girls it has been very similar. I measure them and instead of buying clothes from the Sears catalog we shop at places like the Burlington Coat Factory. Instead of Woolworths we go to the local Subway and get a sub and a soda (they're old enough now that I don't have to cut their straws but I still carry those scissors in my purse). We talk about anything and everything and there is plenty of one on one time (which is a little easier when you only have two kids). We buy backpacks and lunch boxes, crayons, pencils, erasers and glue sticks (no library paste for my girls to eat).
Throughout the school year we send in irises, daffodils and peonies to their teachers. We discovered that our girls needed glasses when they started reading (however, no Dick and Jane books in school now), although my dear MIL bought the girls the entire series of Dick and Jane stories which they enjoyed immensely. And true to form after getting their glasses they were and are on fire with reading.
At Christmas time we send in trays of homemade cookies to thank their teachers for their hard work.
So even though 38 years have passed since I was 10, the age of my oldest daughter, things really aren't so different in school. The teachers are still there working hard hand in hand with parents to prepare our children for the future.
While most families have two working parents and there are times when it's hard to be there for every school function, if you really make the effort your kids will pass on those special times to their own kids in the future. Instead of buying lots of things for your kids try spending more time with them. You'd be surprised what they'll remember 38 years later. They might even write a blog about it.
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