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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Going Broke on School Supplies

I'm face to face and eye to eye with the start of school and it's winning the stare down contest. So I've resolved to wrap my head around obtaining the mountain of sundry school supplies required for my four children, which, these days, amounts to way more than pencils, scissors, and a bottle of glue. Binders alone are, at minimum, $5 a pop, and they all gotta have at least a hundred.

Standing in the store aisle, lined with miles of folders, notebooks, loose leaf paper, clips, clasps, and so on and so forth, saying, "No," to anything and everything with cute puppies, WWF wrestlers, and porches on the front cover, I suddenly think of the Trapper Keeper I always, always coveted as a school child.

My devastatingly practical mother answered all my pleas for a Trapper Keeper, which was synonymous with cool-kid-in-school, "Your teacher doesn't have that on your supply list." Of course not. She wanted to start out the year torturing her students, laying the groundwork for crowd control even before the first day of school.

Oh, heartbreak, to be relegated to the side of the classroom with kids whose mothers sent peanut butter balls rolled in wheat germ for a recess snack and made them carry spiral bound notebooks with plain grey cardboard covers to school in their satchels.

Pamela Anderson in her red Bay Watch bathing suit waves in front of my face, snapping me out of my reverie. "Can I have this folder, Mama? Pleeeaase?" I didn't even know Pamela Anderson was still in. But, I guess in middle school any pretty woman in a bathing suit is in, whether the boy knows her name or claim to fame or not.

I think about the Trapper Keeper I longed for but never had. I picture myself as a child standing in the store watching all those other kids' mothers put Trapper Keepers in their shopping carts. I look at my son, desperation in his eyes, and say, "No. Your teacher didn't put Pamela Anderson on your supply list."

Why? Because I have to trust the practical wisdom of my mother. I am who I am today, because I never had a Trapper Keeper.

1 comment:

Lt. Blount said...

It is important that you know that your younger siblings did receive trapper keepers. It was a mark that we were more favored . . . or that Trapper Keepers had gone out of style and become the "cheap alternative" (because I seem to remember eating those damn wheat germ peanut butter balls as well.