Ever smell that smell?
No, I don’t mean Lynyrd Skynyrd. I can’t tell exactly what it is, but when I walked into Target the other day, they had some cleaning solution that, I swear, was a perfect match for the smell of my first grade room first thing in the morning. I stopped in my tracks and literally said “hey, First Grade”. My wife, Mrs. Claws, immediately agreed.
You know what? Screw Disneyland. I want to go to a First Grade theme park. Remember how awesome it was? I used to go to Sears with my mom during the end of the summer to buy new fall clothes. We’d wander around the aisles, I’d be bribed with a G.I. Joe from the toy department, then off to try stuff on. I won’t be nostalgic here, it sucked. No one likes their mom doing that “tug at your waistband from behind” maneuver. But it was cool to get new clothes – like “Ocean Pacific” and the cool new stuff. Then, sometimes on the same trip, off to T.G.&Y. for school supplies. Nothing says memories like a new pack of wide-ruled notebook paper, a Big Chief pad and some crayons. Granted, I’m mixing memories here, but deal with it.
Ahh the new box of crayons. How I loved the new box of school supplies in a new zipper case. The extravagance of getting a character themed item like a He-Man folder, or Beastman eraser! Those little 50 cent splurges made my month. Funny, adults think kids are hard to please – wrong (at least in my case).
Then, bundling up with all my new junk and heading into the classroom, where new little friends were waiting to be met and discuss the latest coolest toys, and who got to go to Pizza Time Theatre (pre-Chuck E. Cheese) for their birthday. Man, heady times. Wearing brand new clothes and shoes with my pack of crayons with Beastman in my bag, I felt invincible and like the world was full of possibilities.
Then, getting home to watch He-Man and other awesome cartoons – good times. I remember how the fall always led so effortlessly through the chain of holidays into Christmas. October brought Halloween, and the wonderful smells in the dime store as I picked out my plastic cheapo Dracula costume or whatever it was. I was Dracula like 9,000 times. This was always great fun. One year my mom even dressed up like a Bee! Wow, a mom who would have Halloween with you, that rocked.
That would eventually pass into Thanksgiving, coming later. Normally Tgiving would kinda suck, but not in elementary school! We got to make cool headdresses with Indian feathers and Pilgrim hats out of construction paper. These were awesome days. I’d get my rifle (Parris) that mom got me at Silver Dollar City and be a pilgrim settler in Grandmommie’s backyard. No wonder I loved early American history – all of it involved cool outfits and guys with guns!
Then, as the crisp air started and the leaves turned beautiful colors, it was time to look forward to the Sears catalog. Which would lead into Christmas…but more to come later on the march into Christmas.