Back to school thoughts by Shinazy
On Facebook I watched my friends with school-age children chat about all that must be done in preparation for sending their children back to school. In addition to buying clothes that fit better than the ones they bought 6 months ago, they must buy backpacks, classroom supplies, sports equipment, study guides, and textbooks.
How different the current back to school activity is from when my grandmothers or I returned to school.
Nana was born in the Philippines, on the island of Mindanao, in a tiny village. During one shopping trip to get my sensible Saddle Oxfords, she reminisced how she looked forward to the new dress that signaled the first day of school. Lola, her mom, saved the colored parts of the burlap sacks that contained their flour and sugar and hand-stitched the pretty back to school outfit. Nana said when she walked to the missionary school, although her bare feet were strolling along a dirt road, she felt like a princess.
For my other grandmother, Pauline, aka Gigs, going back to school was a frightening experience. Even though she was the 2rd generation born in San Francisco, she arrived at school speaking only French. Every year the back to school time meant trying to remember the English words she learned before summer break. She always felt like an outsider and never enjoyed school.
My going back to school was less terrorizing, I say ‘less’ rather than ‘not’ because it involved clothes shopping, lots of it. I was the girl with perpetually scraped knees and preferred climbing trees to shopping. However, the ‘Fall Fashion Season’ was important to my mom, so shop we did. She would find the adorable wool sweater-set with matching wool pleated skirt, the stylish wool jumper, and the charming wool knee-high socks. Now, if we lived in New York City all this wool would have been perfect, but this was San Francisco where winter low temperature hovered in the 50′s. I may have been over-heated, but I looked like a proper young lady.
I wonder how the children of my Facebook friends feel about getting ready for the new school year. Or, regardless if it is today or yesterday, the back to school activity involves a time of change and we each embrace, resist, or tolerate it in our own way.
photo by Oilbac
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