Back to School

It’s that time of year.  Thoughts may turn to school supplies, the end of freedom, the return of friends you haven’t seen.  This time of year may mean you’re sending a child off to college, knowing it’s the beginning of the end of their life as a daily family member.  You may be facing classes yourself, in one of the many forms now available for learning.

Do you have any stories about going to school?  Share them here!

18 responses to “Back to School

  1. Going back to school is a mixture of feelings. It is a magical combination of sweet and sour anxieties and a blend of fears and joys in anticipation of what the new school year will bring.
    For me, it was a really exiting day.
    The moment my mother shook me gently waking me up to get ready; dressing in the new, clean and crispy ironed dark blue pants and a white shirt with the school monogram sewed on its left pocket and the black tie; the hair that stuck out unmanageable during the entire summer was then well combed and plastered down thanks to a gluey hair cream; the new shinning shoes which always felt so uncomfortable; the smell of new books and notebooks, the assurance of having well sharpened pencils ready to go to work and the pride of carrying a new fountain pen.
    At school, that first day created a cheerful, jubilant and chaotic atmosphere in the central patio where all the students got together, not knowing where to go, waiting for instructions from the teachers while you took the time to greet old friends, meet new ones and telling you summer experience stories to whomever wanted to hear them in exchange of your patience to listen to theirs.
    At one point order was restored and you were assigned to your classroom. Once there you sat at your desk, put all your books an supplies in order and faced your teacher.
    Then, reality hit you like a brick for then you realize that another summer was gone and that, once again, you were left holding memories of happy days, only.

  2. Wonderful memories. They are worth writing and keeping. I’d add the year and location since your grandchildren’s grandchildren may want to read this!

  3. This is a bit off subject, but it does involve books. In 2006 I was watching the Winter Olympics and my nervous system was not wired to be able to see one more Ski Jumper come to another catastrophic landing, So I took out a piece of white paper from the folder on my side table, and I began to Doodle. I could still hear the competition, but my concentration was fixed Doodling. I continued to make intricate geometric designs for the next several years. I gathered my designs and produced four different themed coloring books (that was way before coloring became trendy).

    My latest coloring book is inspired by a dear friend who is dying of brain,lung and liver cancer. The book is entitled “Doodle While You Drip” and will be donated to our local Cancer Center for Chemo patients to use during their tedious treatments. Tomorrow, Aug. 19th I have a meeting with the officials at a few cancer centers to work out the logistics of getting the books into circulation.

    I am so excited to be able to give these brave souls, who are battling this hideous disease, a tool to ease the stress of enduring chemo. I covet your good wishes for this project

    • peanut, beautiful story and commendable initiative. I would like to have a copy of your book. Please, send me one and tell where should I send my donation.

    • Peanut, sorry for the delay in answering your message. we were out of town for the entire week. I haven’t been able to enter in your page. What if I send you a check with my modest donation and you send me your coloring book?

      • Lando, Please send me your address on e-mail and I will put a book in the mail to you right away. If you want to send me a check that would be fine. I will send you my address via e-mail. Thank you so much for supporting this project, I now have the books in three Cancer Centers. They are proving to be quite therapeutic.

  4. How fabulous! You continually reveal these hidden talents, Peanut. I think you need to write the story of your life at some point–just for fun, in your own Peanut Beranski way. If I’m remembering right, you have had heart trouble. Perhaps the chapters from that point forward would make great reading for the people stuck in Cardiac unit.

    You have every good wish I can come up with, and they are all winging their way to you. Bravo. Bravo. Bravo. You are an original.

    • Thank you, my friend. I don’t usually indulge in self promotion, but since this is such a worthy cause, I will share the following info; I am raising funds for this particular book through a GoFundMe account under the name ” The B.Attitudes.” if you want to see one of my designs they are visible on this page. If you feel led to leave a donation, that would be great also. Either way, I appreciate your good wishes….Ever Onward !!

  5. I can’t find this account. I did get into the GoFundMe site with its zillion accounts, but my search results are in the hundred thousands. Any other hints?

  6. 512 results. Any other hints?

  7. My direct campaign can be reached by Hope that works.

  8. I want one of your coloring books. How can I get one?

  9. Send me your address at and I will send you one right away. I am honored that you want one.

  10. It has been a couple months since I have written. Here is this evening’s output. It’s nearly 2000 words, hope it’s not too long. Jeff

    Today was the first day of second grade. I awoke with the usual fears of an eight-year old boy facing something new. I pulled on my cleanest pair of jeans and a red T-shirt with the logo of some restaurant I have never been to. I slipped my shoes on over my bare feet, brown and toughened from the summer, and went to the fridge looking for something to fix for my lunch. I don’t think school would like me to bring a bottle of Bud. I found a crust of bread still chewable in the cabinet, spread some mayo on it, and folded it in half. I’ve had worse breakfasts. I searched through my mother’s purse and took a dollar. That should get me something from the cafeteria. Or the vending machine. I went back to her purse and pulled two cigarettes. Maybe I could trade them for something from another kid’s lunch bag.

    I drug my old backpack from the floor of my closet and peeked inside. Notebook. Pencil that needs sharpening. A pack of gum with two sticks left. One of my dad’s Playboys. Looked like I had what I needed for my first day. I let myself out the kitchen door that led to the garage. The single big door was up. Dad’s car was gone, so either he left really early for work or never made it home from his weekend fishing trip with Uncle Tom and Junior. I walked my bike with the big banana seat to the curb and stopped. School was to the right about a mile. I eyed the sidewalk and then the street. I took to the street, legs hammering the pedals, wishing I had a speedometer.

    I wheeled into the school playground and headed toward the bike racks. I was pumped. Adrenaline conquers fear every time, right? I unwrapped the chain from around the handlebars and threaded the hasp of a broken lock through two of the links and secured it to the rack among the Schwinns and English racers.

    I turned toward the school and before I made it halfway to the building a voice hollered, “Nice outfit, loser.” I recognized the taunting of Tommy Hopkins, now a fourth grader and my nemesis during the first grade. I was now a foot taller and twenty pounds heavier than last year. I turned my head toward him, shot him the finger, and went on my way.

    In a moment I was shoved from the back onto my face in the dirt. “Did you just flip me off, loser?”

    I picked myself up and shed my backpack, and in an instant was in Tommy’s face.

    “What’s the matter, Tommy? I gotta ‘splain it to you?” Tommy’s jaw dropped and he stared at me with his mouth open, disbelieving what he had just heard. He reached for me and I side-stepped him and tripped him, face first into the dirt.

    “Who’s the loser now, Tommy?” I taunted back. He picked himself up as he wiped the dirt from his face. A crowd of kids gathered around us. Tommy was in a rage. He charged me again with arms outstretched and took me to the ground. We struggled, exchanging fists, but soon he was straddling my stomach, slapping my face. I spit at him, and his fist connected with my eye.

    I could barely see his fist drawn back to strike me again and I laid there waiting for the inevitable.

    A voice boomed, “What is going on here?” and Tommy was yanked off of me. All I could see was a pair of gray trousers and a pair of shiny black shoes. But I recognized the voice from last year. It was the principal, Mr. Jenkins. “Into my office. Now. Both of you.” His brutish hands had both of us by our shirt collars. In no time Tommy and I were both in his office standing before him in front of his desk. He didn’t speak at first. He didn’t need to. We both knew we were in trouble. And it wasn’t the first time.

    Mr. Jenkins demanded an explanation. Tommy blurted his excuse first. “Mr. Jenkins, I was just standing there with my friends and he drove by and flipped me off. I went over to him to ask why he did that and he pushed me to the ground. I had to defend myself.”

    Mr. Jenkins looked at me and asked, “Well, Sam, what do you have to say.” I responded the only way I knew and simply shrugged my shoulders.

    Mr. Jenkins rose from his chair and walked to the wooden paddle hanging on his coat rack. He shook his head as he looked at me, but before he could speak, his secretary cracked the door open and nodded for him to come out.

    “Don’t either of you move,” he barked at us. He closed the door behind him and I could hear a mumbling of voices beyond the closed door. I looked at Tommy who smirked and whispered, “You’re gonna get it now, loser.” I shot him the finger once more.

    The door opened before Tommy could react and Mr. Jenkins entered, closing the door behind him with a harsh push. Tommy jumped a bit at the noise and I chuckled a bit at him.

    Mr. Jenkins in his deep voice, sounding even deeper than I recalled, spoke. “I understand there is blame on both sides in this matter. So both of you will be punished. Both of you get five swats with the paddle.

    He looked at me. His eyes looked harsh. “Sam, go into my secretary’s office and wait your turn.” I quickly obeyed his order. I sat on the hard wooden bench. I thought, I’ve been whipped before, whipped good by my dad. Ain’t nothing to five swats.

    I heard mumbled words coming from Mr. Jenkins. I heard the first swat connect. I heard Tommy cry out. I smiled. I heard the next four swats and more cries. I heard the door open and watched Tommy exit with tears in his eyes. Mr. Jenkins ordered Tommy to sit on the hard wood bench.

    “Sam,” said Mr. Jenkins with no further explanation. I got up and walked into his office, mustering all the courage I could find. He closed the door.

    Mr. Jenkins looked at me. I lowered my eyes toward the floor. “Sam. I got word from Peter Edwards the sixth grade leader who told me he saw the entire fight. Why didn’t you speak up and tell your side? I looked ant Mr. Jenkins and shrugged muttering “I dunno.”

    Mr. Jenkins smiled and spoke, “Sam. I know your life at home is a bit rough.” I shrugged again. “And I remember you being picked on by Tommy and a couple others last year.”

    I remained motionless.

    “Life isn’t either all black or white.” I looked at him not understanding.

    Mr. Jenkins took the paddle in his hand walked to his leather chair and said, “Sam, after each whack I want you to simply yell ‘Ouch.’ “

    I bent over and clenched my butt cheeks expecting the worst. The paddle made a resounding whack and I jumped at the noise but felt nothing. Mr. Jenkins had swatted the seat of his leather chair. He looked at me and nodded. I exclaimed, “Ouch.”

    A second swat hit the chair and a second “ouch” followed. A third. Fourth. And a final fifth.

    “Sam,” said Mr. Jenkins. “I’m giving you a second chance. You deserve it. But there won’t be a third.”

    Mr. Jenkins walked to his door and called Tommy in. Tommy stifled a cry, trying to act tough. I looked at him and smiled. Mr. Jenkins spoke, “Boys, this better be the last time either of you are in my office for fighting. Now get on to your classrooms.”

    The bell for final period came none too soon. I dashed for my bike and pedaled home. I parked my bike in the garage next to Dad’s car. He had made it home. I walked into the kitchen wondering how his mood was.

    He looked at me, my swollen eye, my torn shirt, and the dust which still clung to me and my clothes.

    “What happened?” he asked in a non-caring voice.

    “Got into a fight,” I replied.

    “You win?”

    “Yup,” I lied, even though I kinda did.

    “Good for you.” Dad got up and gave me a playful smack on the back of the head. “Go clean up.”

    I walked to the bathroom and my Mom saw my condition. “My poor baby,” she cried and tried to smother me with affection. I shrugged her off. “No big deal, Mom.”

    Her voice still had the thickness of alcohol. But she was out of bed and dressed for a change. Her eyes began to tear. “Your beautiful shirt is torn. Let’s go get you some new shirts.” She grabbed the car keys off the poodle-shaped key rack and we headed to the car. I grabbed my backpack from my bike and tossed it into the back seat.

    Along the way she started speaking in a rambling way, talking about how sorry she was that she had been so sick so often and that today was going be be a better day. I had heard the story often and quit believing it although I never said so. She was my mom.

    She found a parking spot near the front door to the thrift store. “I bet they got some new shirts in that you will love.” I thought back to my red shirt with “Freddy’s BBQ” silkscreened on the back. “I bet they do, Mom.”

    We walked to the kids’ shirt aisle, the fifty-cent section. She showed me several which I politely said looked nice which was a lie.

    “Mom,” I’m in the second grade now. Can’t I get something that looks older. Like from the dollar section?” Mom opened her purse and pulled out her wallet. Opened the coin pouch. I caught a glimpse of several dollars tucked in it.”

    “Well, okay,” she said. “Pick out two or three you want. But no more than that. And take your time, honey. I’ve got some shopping to do myself. She headed off toward the women’s section and I started my search.

    Three new shirts. I was elated. I shopped hard looking for just the right design, size, color. How I wanted something without a restaurant logo on it. I made my selection and went to find my mother. She wasn’t in the women’s section. I noticed the front door to the store open and watched her enter, looking like she didn’t want to be seen.

    She saw me and came over. “Find some good shirts, honey?” I held them up for her gushing and phony approval. We walked to the check-out and I watched her pay for them. Her wallet now held two dollar bills and some change.

    “Nothing for you, here?” I asked. “No, honey,” she replied. “Nothing in my size or style today.” We walked to the car and as I got in I noticed the tell-tale brown paper sack next to my backpack in the back seat.

    As she started the car she looked at me and spoke. “Wasn’t that fun, honey?” She reached over to give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Her breath was rank from smoking and liquor.

    I reached over the seat for my backpack and pulled out the two sticks of gum. “How about some gum, Mom?” I asked. “Sure, honey. I would love some,” she answered.

    We drove home in silence, chewing our gum.

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