How wonderful that in the middle of August’s dog days we find a spark of fun! School supplies are on sale.
As a child, I shopped at TG&Y with Mom, imagining what the new school year might bring. Would this be the year Mom would buy me the coveted box of 64 crayons with the sharpener on the back? Alas! It never happened during elementary school.
Many years later, one of my friends treated me to the box of 64, still replete with the sharpener on the back. Even as an adult, it was a wonderful gift.
Every year, shopping for school supplies represented a new take on hope. It was akin to the cleaning of the chalkboard — the chance to start over, to learn more facts and read more books.
The energy of a new year felt as fresh as the package of #2 yellow pencils. Would my teacher like me? Would I be chosen to pass out the “Weekly Readers” on Fridays?
Even into high school and college years, the hunt for the perfect pens, the best paper and the sturdiest notebooks required research. We clipped coupons and drove all over town for the best bargains.
Then as a single mom, it was more difficult to save the money required for my son’s list. The year he needed an electronic calculator completely tanked my budget.
But even then, we shared the excitement of the new year and the possibility of setting fresh goals, making new friends, celebrating successes.
We made a day of it: shopping at K-Mart (the modern version of TG&Y), opened boxes of hand-me-down clothes from the cousin just a bit older, played with the new compass and protractor, bought a pizza and a liter of Pepsi for supper.
Now as a writer, school supplies birth colorful paper goods, my favorite Pentel gel pens, journals with moleskin covers designed by George Stanley and legal pads for first drafts.
I wait until late August when the kids have already chosen their supplies. Then I dig through the discarded piles to find my treasures. Write down the cost in my list of office deductions.
Throughout the year, these supplies bring excitement — waiting in my stash for the day I need a new journal, a fresh pen for a booksigning, some colorful 3×5 cards to help structure my novel. And every time I open a new package, I revisit the years when school supplies meant a new start.
Hope implies a beginning again, fresh grace, the forgetting of what has been and the reaching toward new growth.
Whether it’s in a physical classroom, virtual online Zoom lectures or the quiet office of an introverted writer, we all need the promise of hope.
Here’s to those pens and papers that invite us to believe again. Hope shines when we dare to embrace a fresh start.
©2020 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
The above post is an excerpt from Hope Shines, a book of essays about fresh starts. Check it out on Amazon, then leave a review. Thanks !