News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

August 20, 2013

LIZ CIANCONE: School supplies these days just don’t add up

School bells rang yesterday to begin a new school year. I really wish I was still of an age to trek back to that proverbial “little red schoolhouse.”

Heaven knows I strung it out for as long as possible. I attended six different schools, including graduate school, before I finally tossed out a tatty loose-leaf binder and called it quits. While I’d love to do it all again, I think that I’d spend more time with my textbooks if I had that chance. The perspective of age has led me to realize that I regret nothing I have learned, I just mourn all those things I could have learned if I had paid more attention.

Yesterday was only Aug. 19. My school years began the day after Labor Day. I could hardly enjoy the Labor Day picnics and hurried home to get all my school stuff organized for the big day.

Of course, Mom had made me a new dress — girls were not allowed to wear slacks to school. Mom had taken my brother and me to Aurora to shop for school supplies. I was most thrilled with a new box of crayons every year. There were only eight crayons and none had a more exotic name than “orange.” None of this “apple green” or “brick red.” We colored with just plain “green” and “red.” We were also required to have a box of water colors. I really didn’t learn to like water color until I met Salty Seamon. My efforts were more water than color and were never posted on the refrigerator.

The big choice was the mandatory “pencil box.” There was a pen with a point which could be changed, but we didn’t have ink in our inkwells until after fifth grade, so pens were no big deal.

There were pencils, of course, and a couple of gadgets: I finally learned to make flowers with the compass, but never did figure out the purpose of the protractor. If it had anything to do with arithmetic, I probably wouldn’t have understood it anyway.

My grandchildren loaded all this sort of thing into a backpack. I just carried it all as best I could and stowed it in my assigned desk.

My favorite memories of school involve my teachers, most of whom I remember by name and can picture in my mind’s eye: Miss Meeker, Miss Montgomery, Miss Bauer, Miss Hoadley, Miss Gibbs. I had good teachers. My sons had good teachers, and I have to bite my tongue when someone tries to tell me that teachers don’t care — they are just in it for the money! I don’t believe that for a minute.

I was out the other day surveying a counter of school supplies and was amazed at how things have changed. Honestly! I saw a box of crayons with dozens of color choices. There was even a built-in crayon sharpener built into the box — we didn’t have that luxury or that many choices of color.

I miss school. Maybe I’ll go to the library and try to learn something new. How about a crash course in arithmetic?

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send her email at opinion@tribstar.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Liz Ciancone
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Today in History for April 18th Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show
NDN Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity