It is, remarkably, back to school for children and teachers in my area tomorrow.
That means football, fall leaves and best of all, sweater weather can’t be far behind.
It also brings back one of my fondest memories of childhood, the annual school shopping trip with my mom. It was a day just for the two of us, where we’d head downtown to the department store and buy shoes and clothing for the upcoming year. For lunch, we’d go to a nice restaurant and enjoy a special meal.
It made me feel valued, treasured — and grownup. It was probably the most sophisticated thing I did back then. Eat lunch at a sit-down restaurant? Like a lady? That was, quite simply, incredible.
My mom made a lot of my clothes back then, and that was a separate trip, preceded by an afternoon or evening of pouring over the pattern books she’d get from the fabric store (they gave away the old ones, which were current enough). I’d put a star on the patterns for the dresses I liked the best, narrow down the list, eliminate anything my sister also chose (we rarely had the same taste, but to match my sister just would not do) and carefully consider what kind of fabric to look for before we shopped. Then, my mom, sister and I would head out to buy bundles of fabric, enough to keep mom busy sewing for some time.
By junior high, the schools had changed the rules and we were allowed to wear pants, even jeans, so shopping for fabric was a rarer occasion. Of course in high school I wanted to shop by myself more often (although if mom were buying, she was invited). The back-to-school shopping trips became a thing of the past, except for a quick trip for undergarments and socks.
We grow up, we move on, but we hold on to the memories of childhood, the family traditions that meant we were special.
One more shopping trip — that’s what I’m hoping for this fall.
Image Credits: (Blackboard) © adrian_ilie825 — Fotolia; (Mother Daughter) © skypicstudio — Fotolia