May 17, 2006

When I was a kid

On the last day of school, we carried home notebooks filled with writing and math problems, and pencil boxes filled with broken crayons, worn pink erasers, and that protractor that was never used for anything but tracing Ds. (Elementary school pencil boxes always came with protractors. I don’t know why.) I would take my notebooks – the spiralbound ones – and all the used notebooks that my siblings left dumped on the floor too – and rip out all the pages of school work. All the definitions and vocabulary words, the math problems, the book reports, the history facts.

Almost all the notebooks still had some clean usable pages left. I would work carefully to make sure my ripping didn’t unbend the wire spirals, which were often a bit kinky after a year’s worth of being jammed into small wooden desks. And I would end up with a stack of thin notebooks, ready to become my summer journals.

I still can remember that feeling of anticipation as I looked at the little stack of notebooks with their tattered covers and clean white pages. The whole summer stretched before me – camping trips, days at the beach, evenings filled with fireflies, and most of all, time to write.

14 comments:

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

That's a really sweet memory.

peripateticpolarbear said...

Did you get to bring home any notebooks from school this year?

jo(e) said...

PPB: Well, my daughter, who is home from college, just brought a stack of notebooks in to my office and gave them to me this morning. That's what made me think of this ...

Nels said...

Do you still have all that writing? That would be amazing.

liz said...

I can just see you, gloating over all those empty pages, waiting to be filled with your adventures.

jo(e) said...

Nels: Sure. I've got boxes and boxes of old journals. I have the most recent ones (the last ten years) up in my office but the rest are in the basement. When I was cleaning with my daughter two years ago, she found a journal from my senior year in high school -- she was a senior at the time, attending the same high school I had gone to -- and she had great fun reading it.

jo(e) said...

Liz: Exactly. I still find a clean, white empty page hard to resist.

Piece of Work said...

What a nice memory. And what an earnest student you were! I had journals, too--but I was never very good at keeping them, until the angst of the teenage years. I have those still, in the attic of my parents' home, 4000 miles away--but I think if I read them again now I'd be mortified!

kate5kiwis said...

my friend fleur has kept all our notes we wrote to each other during math class twenty-odd years ago lol
:o)

Terminaldegree said...

That's so neat.

When I got home on the last day I threw out my old school supplies. It drove my mom crazy.

(I still love brand new office supplies.)

But journals? I never had the follow-through to keep writing after the first page. My blog has been the first time I've really journaled. I think that as an only child, I had enough introspection already. The blog works now because of the interaction with others.

Mona Buonanotte said...

I believe my parents still have some of my high school notebooks. And I have some papers I wrote in high school, just to compare my writing then and now. Sometimes being a packrat is a good thing.

zelda1 said...

My mom would not let us waste notebook paper so I made notebooks our of paper bags and kite strings. They were perfect and the older I got, the better I became at making them look more like notebooks, brown-paged notebooks.

Kathryn said...

I'm not offering her to you, because I'm kind of fond of her, but I suspect you may actually be a long lost relative of my own DarlingDaughter, who has done exactly the same for as long as I can remember. Sadly, it's rare for English school exercise books to be spiral bound, so the results were a bit less satisfying...but she definitely noticed and regretted when transition to the 6th form meant no more school stationery to be recycled for creative writing. Now, of course, she is writing madly in Thailand...maybe she'll use Thai school exercise books!

claier said...

I was big on using the unused pages in a marble notebook as a teenager. I still have some of them. I love reading through them now.