Tomorrow the freedom of summer ends for me. Gone are the nights of staying up late, because now I will have to get up early. Gone are the days of wearing pajamas for half the day and not putting on makeup until three in the afternoon. I will have to be ready before seven in the morning, and I have to wear makeup so I don't scare the adolescents under my care. I am not a morning person, so these facts sadden me. I am excited to be starting my new job, but I'm also full of first day jitters. I'm trying to remind myself that I survived my first year, and survived it pretty well, but I'm still nervous. I kind of feel like a first year teacher again because I'm starting at a different school, and everything is so different, and
Anyway, all of this nervous, before school starting stuff has reminded me of the night before school starts experiences of my childhood, and particularly of my adolescence. And the back to school of my childhood would not have been back to school without new school clothes.
At the end of the summer each year, my mom would take us school shopping. This meant we got new clothes for the upcoming school year. Keep in mind, I grew up in middle-of-nowhere-central-Washington. Buying school clothes was a much grander affair than your typical car ride to the mall. We had to go out of town to go school shopping. Sometimes, that meant a two hour trip to Spokane. If we were lucky, it meant we'd get to go to Seattle where our ultra cool, trendy relatives lived. We would shop all day, and, if it was a Seattle excursion, we would play with the fun toys the aforementioned cool, trendy relatives had at night. In true Beadnell fashion, we would stay up late, drink Pepsi, and order pizza. And of course, I would always be introduced to cool music that I could take home and jam to. As an added bonus, these out of town excursions insured I wouldn't show up the first day of school wearing the same Maurice's shirt as three or four other girls.
As if buying these clothes wasn't exciting enough, my mom added intensity to the practice. Once we came home from the shopping trip, we weren't allowed to wear our new clothes until the first day of school. In my closet, they would hang crisply from their hangers. Tags still attached (to remind me of their utterly complete newness of course). The new clothes' smell spreading its joy to my closet.
Before school started, the clothes would come out, as I planned and re-planned outfits. What would I wear on the first day? Choices were limited, as a lot of my new clothes would be for the fall, and it would still be hot on the first day. What shoes went best with this shirt? I would try things on over and over. I wouldn't beg and plead to wear my new things, because I just thought it was a fact of life. I thought ALL kids had to wait to wear their new clothes until the first day of school. I don't think I fully realized that wasn't a universal rule until I got married and found out Chad's mom had no such policy.
Once I had my first day's outfit planned, I would move on to mapping out the entire first week. That's right, I would know what I was wearing, Monday through Friday, before I even set foot in the school.
Sigh. Oh to be young again. Tomorrow, I will see my students, decked out in their first day of school attire. As for me, I haven't a clue what I'll be wearing. In fact, after looking at my laundry basket an hour ago, it became quite clear that my choices tomorrow are going to be limited to what's clean. Even so, it's fun to reminisce and remember the magic of new school clothes.