Sunday, September 6, 2015

Be Cool, Fool: It's the First Day of School

It's hard not to love fall here in the PNDub—the warm, murky rains, the crisp, bright mornings—the giddy optimism that jolts my spirits on the eve of another football season...

Wow, sorry, I just got a little physically excited there. Okay, I'm good. There's still another reason why autumn is my runaway winner of Most Valuable Season:

It's back-to-school time. I miss it, do you? It's alive and well in my house, where only two family members aren't returning to the piny confines of academia this fall: me and my toothless cat, Leo. Everyone else will be either fifth-grade teaching or high-school-sophomoring or college-junioring-and-moving-into-a-house-off-campus-with-three-friends-and-a-55-inch-TV.

Remember that night before that first day of school? I do. I always slept fitfully, waking often to gaze through the darkness at my opening day outfit draped over the chair, an ensemble assembled through painstaking, patience-trying trips to Sears, Penney's, the Bon Marché. Thank you, Mom.

Every summer, I'd reassure myself that I'd look totally cool but not enough to stand out. Each first day marked the only time I'd dress up for school, but I'd also be committed to that outfit for the duration of the church and Sunday school year.

In kindergarten, a gold turtleneck was my statement piece. Just to give you an idea, here's a sketch for a turtleneck pattern from 1968.


Okay, is it just me, or is that guy trending a little closer to the camel toe than the moose knuckle? Glad the pattern wasn't for those pants.

Throughout the elementary years, my first-day clothing choices varied between the more-dressed-up...


(I'm not kidding, my fifth grade garb was freakishly close to these guys standing here with their wife.)

...to the utilitarian. Sears Toughskins were a staple. They came in a wide array of dimensions, a major asset for the fussy, tubby shopper.


After a growth spurt during junior high, my body stretched out, allowing for more appealing choices:


I looked up to all three of these guys. The one in the hat is Mr. Penny, my P.E. teacher. In the middle is Mr. Barnes, who taught social studies and coached the map club, and then the dude on the right was Mike, who said he did security at our school but I'm pretty sure he just sat around and looked at girls. I took this picture in the lunchroom right after this kid Lonnie spilled pork gravy on Mrs. Olson. Her mouth started twitching, and I seriously thought she was going to punch him.

Oh, and here's Charlie's Angels, just because:


Have a great autumn!

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