Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Evolving School Supply List


As I purged my Sunday newspaper of all the advertising, I was amazed by the "Back To School" inserts. It is so hard to believe that this information is no longer pertinent to my survival. Backpacks, lunchboxes, No. 2 pencils, loose leaf  packs, pens, construction paper, scissors, notebooks, and composition books (never confuse the two) are not part of my annual budget.  The fulfillment of  "Back to School" supply list was interpreted by children as the ultimate measurement of success on the first day of school.  No, it wasn't the clothes, we were lucky. They wore uniforms for 12 years. The supply list was the determining factor of a good impression on the first day.

This ritual  took up 26 years of my life. (It's possible if you have a child born in three decade like I did.) School supply shopping changed dramatically on several levels from the late 1970's into the mid-1980's. Some items dropped off the list and were replaced with fees (art supply fees, science lab fees, computer lab fees, etc.)

During this time I saw the tin lunch boxes with favorite cartoon or television characters go out of style and come back in style as plastic boxes. I saw No.2 pencils replaced by mechanical pencils. Gum art erasers disappear in the elementary schools only to reappear in high school art classes. White paste was laid to rest by Elmer's glue only to be usurped by glue sticks. Remember those be chunky crayons used by preschoolers and primary grade children. Well, I haven't seen a box in years. My granddaughter started drawing with colored pencils and markers.


Yes, I mourn the loss of those pre-calculator days when kids used Popsicle sticks to add, subtract, and learn place value. Are there Popsicles around anymore?

Hey! I still mourn the loss of the small milk bottles that came in wooden cases. This was before we packaged our milk for school children in cardboard  containers covered with a waxy substance. Ah, progress!

But, what do I know, I suspect the school supply list of 2020 will include ipads or tablets.  Allowing  students to download text books and assignments. Pencils will be replace by stylists and the keyboard will drop out of sight.


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