Ohhhh, back to school….

I’ve had the little ditty from Billy Madison stuck in my head all day. (If you don’t know it yet, don’t worry — you will.) Tomorrow is the day I’ve been waiting for: my return to kindergarten at my elementary school.

I’ve got my lunch packed up: veggie & cheese fritatta, an organic peach, and half a piece of tomato bread. (Darren: “No one’s gonna trade you for that!”) It’s in a brown bag with my name on it. My mom offered to put a little note inside like in the old days.

I’ve had a lot of memory triggers today that gave me a taste of what’s to come over the next few months. I had to drive into Petaluma today on my old route to high school, and I popped in a random mix tape, circa 1996. It included:

  • “Lovefool” – The Cardigans
  • “Just a Girl” – No Doubt
  • “‘Til I Hear It From You” – Gin Blossoms
  • “Alone” – Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories
  • “Female of the Species” – Space (Are they really saying “more deadlier than the male”?)

It’s crazy how the lyrics have taken up permanent residence in a corner of my brain, which I probably could be using to remember what 12 x 9 equals. But then I’d miss out on belting out the Blues Traveler while cruising down Adobe Road, feeling like a 16-year-old.

Another blast from the past today was catching up by phone with an old classmate from high school who works for the Sonoma Index-Tribune. We hadn’t spoken since graduation but talked as easily as if we saw each other every day. Our 10-year reunion is approaching in a few weeks, and we’re both looking forward to sharing the evolutions of our teenage selves that are light on the zits, heavy on the sass. I’m hoping to track down classmates from all my old schools and see how we relate to each other as grown-ups.

First day of kindergarten, 1985

First day of kindergarten, 1985

Here’s what I know about my first day of school, 2008. I’m going to…

  • Walk to school, as I did from a young age. I guess I’ll carry a backpack, since as a tomboy, I wouldn’t have been caught dead with a purse.
  • Get the kindergarteners comfortable in the classroom as their parents leave. I’m considering wearing shin guards.
  • Help the kids shape dough into gingerbread people (not just men!), which will be baked and then disappear, inspiring a several-day search that will orient the kids to the school.
  • Introduce Reschool Yourself at the after-school staff meeting. I’ll see several teachers who taught at the school while I was a student there. I think it’ll be strange to chat with them as an adult, and I’m not sure I’ll be OK with calling them by their first names.

I expect a lot of other memories to surface: the excitement and apprehension of starting a new year (and the first year, in the kindergarteners’ case) with new clothes and school supplies; the schoolyard games like “Girls Chase Boys”; and the daily routines like recess and snack time. God knows that if I lie down on a nap rug, after a week of sleep deprivation, there will be no waking me without a fight.

After school tomorrow, I promise to give you the full report: You ask me how my day was, and I’ll say, “Fine.”

Well, here goes nothin’….


YOUR TWO CENTS: Leave a Comment!

What do you remember about your first day of school — of any year, and especially kindergarten?

Comments (5)

  1. Gilliebean

    Ohhh back to school… now I’m gonna have that stuck in my head all night.

    First of all, that is totally my mix tape from 8th grade! I remember making it shortly after I bought the “Romeo and Juliet” soundtrack.

    Darren, no one ever wanted to trade for our lunches. They were always very well-balanced and lacking in Little Debbie’s snacks and Squeeze-Its. I appreciate it now, but at the time…

    All I remember about the first day of kindergarten was being really excited to carry around my “big girl” school things– backpack, lunch bag, crayons, whatever else a 5-year-old girl needs. So exciting!

  2. Darren

    School supplies are definitely key. At one point, I had a choice of skipping a grade or staying in the one I was in. I was nervous about skipping ahead, but what ended up making me choose to do it was that the school supply list for third grade allowed for a higher-count crayon pack.

  3. Chuck

    The mom that stayed was Laverne, wasn’t it?

  4. Melia

    “Teacher, Chuck is making fun of me cuz my mommy comes to school with me!”

  5. Margaret

    Hmm… I don’t think we traded things from our lunches at my school. Early on, I definitely didn’t have the trendy things, and then, knowing me, I probably boycotted trading later on when I did have more commercial items, since the system had scorned me earlier.
    What I most remember about back to school is the first-day-photograph: in the uniform, with the backpack, new supplies or hand-me-downs (I agree, the funnest part, and still an obsession), my brother Bill, and in the very young grades, my Dad and our dog Fred would walk with us to school. And my mom would ALWAYS try to get a few more pictures than we were ready for. Enough already! On with the excitement!


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