Back to School

So I'm filling in on Call For Help today and one of our guests is highlighting some nifty gadgets for the kids for the new school year. Ah, how I remember the chaos that was "Back To School." Let's take a walk back in time, shall we?

1. A couple weeks before our first day back (always used to be the day after Labor Day, no exceptions) the school would post all the students' names in their future classes. This was the moment you found out if all your best friends were in the same class as you (score!) and whether you got the cool teacher or the hag from hell (start acting sick).

2. Back-to-school clothes were big. No, huge. For some unknown reason, kids became fashion slaves sometime in August and rode that horse until October when everything had been worn. It wasn't about growing out of last year's pants...it was about Esprit and Guess! And if you were a frequent receiver of your older cousin's hand-me-downs (me), you might even pretend they were new. Man, peers can be unforgiving! I'd like to think kids aren't as shallow and judgmental as they used to be, but I have a feeling some things never change.

3. Remember those old pee-chee folders? They were printed with graphics of basketball and football players and were barely thicker than construction paper. Pee-chees were also useless if you were using a 3-ring binder cause they had no holes. Yet they were the folder to have. Why? I have no idea. My parents never bought them for me because they weren't practical. But you can't tell a 10 year old about practicality.

4. Lunch boxes vs. brown paper bags. Can anyone pinpoint exactly what summer we kids got the memo to switch from colorful, unique lunch boxes and advance to plain, identity-free bag lunches? I don't remember the year, but I remember the importance. Lunch boxes were deemed too babyish and absolutely had to go. To avoid Hunger Strike '86, you needed a brown bag.

Top 10 lunch box themes that were hot at my elementary school before they were not:

1. He-Man

2. The Smurfs

3. My Little Pony

4. Transformers

5. GI-Joe

6. Michael Jackson

7. Rainbow Brite

8. Care Bears

9. Strawberry Shortcake

10. Thundercats

5. Even more important than the sack lunch were the contents of the sack lunch. CapriSun was a must. Hostess cupcakes were reserved for the lunch elite crowd. Skippy peanut butter ruled. Let's just say I was never allowed any of that stuff, and today my body thanks my mother.

I can't say I miss that back-to-school status stress... but I sure wish I still had summer vacation.