BACK TO SCHOOL 1950’s and 60’s
I went to Wal-Mart a few weeks ago and there were a lot of mothers and kids in the store buying school supplies. When I was leaving the store a mother and her two young boys were leaving ahead of me. The two boys had new back packs almost as big as they were on their backs.
Now that the backpacks and all the supplies that will be carried in them were purchased the boys were almost ready to head to school. There were two more tasks to complete before they walked into their new classroom; getting haircuts and buying school clothes and shoes.
For me the last task was pretty simple. All mom and I had to do was buy my new shoes for school. Mom always bought the old clunky black and white saddle oxfords and I hated them. If they had been like the softer ones they have now I would have liked them.
For me the most exciting event that signaled the first day of school was close was the box that arrived from my Grandmother. Every year in the spring after school was out I would help her decide on a pattern or two. I knew she would make at least 5 or 6 dresses with that pattern in different colors for me. She would usually surprise me and make some skirts and blouses and I always loved the style and the fabrics.
During the years I was in grade school, 4th through the 7th grades, full skirts and can-cans were popular. She made me a can-can to match every dress or full skirt she made for me. One of them would always be rainbow colors. As I think about it now, she probably used all the left over’s from the other ones for the rainbow can-can but I thought it was special.
Once the school books, pencils, crayons, paint box, and paper were bought at the drug store and Grandmother had mailed me her contribution all that was left was getting the hair ready. For the boys it was just a hair cut, lots of Mohawks and buzz cuts back then, but for the girls it was probably a permanent and a haircut.
Sometimes the perms were too curly. If it was too curly when I left the beauty shop I would go straight home and wash it a couple of times. Most of the time that would take some of the curl out and tame the frizz a little. By the time the class pictures were taken about a month later it was not as frizzy looking.
I was usually bored by the time August rolled around and I was ready to go back to school so I could see all my classmates again. But then reality would sink in. I knew I would have to use the books that had just been purchased.
I remember the smell of the new school books mom bought for the new school year. I didn’t always get new books, if she could get a used one that was what she bought me. But I would get a new one if there was a change in the book or subject. If I got a new book I loved to sit and ruffle through the pages to smell the new paper and ink.
Most kids today are lucky; they start back to school later than we did. School would start for us about the 14th or 15th of August. So by the time this comes out in the paper we would have been in school about 2 weeks. Some kid’s hated school so much that they started counting down to the end of the school year on the first day.
We were out of school in the spring by mid May which was earlier than the schools around us and it was great to be out when they were still in school. We had a week or two that we enjoyed being out playing when we knew they were still sitting in school.
School starting again was both an exciting and a dreaded time of the year for us; it was a time of new clothes and getting to know the new teacher and getting to see all our classmates again. I am sure it is still the same for most kids today when it is time to go back to school. To contact Sandy: [email protected]