What I learned.

Facebook has been on fire this week with photos from the first day of school. I love it. The excited-but-nervous smiles kill me, as do the shiny, new backpacks.

My mom always took our first-day photos on the front steps. Some of my fashion choices were … interesting. Case in point: the first day of seventh grade, I wore jeans with a vertical stripe in the denim. And a shirt with vertical stripes. Perhaps I thought this made me look slim and tall. It did not.

Usually, the first day of school was either ungodly hot, or freakishly cold. The first day of kindergarten, I wanted to wear a particular sundress, but it was too cold. But more times than I can count, we got out of school early in the first few days of class because none of the school buildings in town were air conditioned.

Our elementary school was built in 1912. We used to have tornado drills where we’d all cram into the basement and breathe in the safety and security that only exposed asbestos insulation can give you. Surely it would prevent three stories of brick from tumbling down upon us.

The elementary school didn’t have lockers – each class had a long, dark cloakroom, complete with transom windows. Everything smelled like crayons and fresh paint.

My first day of kindergarten, I remember my very pregnant mama dropping me off. She wore 1 of my dad’s shirts. She says she was all hormonal and teary, but I don’t remember that. My friend Brent broke his leg on the merry-go-round, and I talked about it for weeks.

My brother’s first day of kindergarten 6 years later, a girl kissed him in the cloakroom. He didn’t consider this a highlight of the day, and so didn’t bother to mention it. We heard about it through the grapevine. When confronted, Poochie shrugged his shoulders – he was just a man about kindergarten, popular with the ladies, you know?

This all went down 30 years ago. It seems like yesterday. I’m thankful for those goofy photos of us posed on the front steps – me with some questionable outfit, Poochie with no front teeth, both of us with backpacks bursting with new school supplies. It’s the good stuff.

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