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Lately, I’ve asked Adele to write two columns, based on her domestic adventures, which I found hilarious when she recounted them and which I thought you’d enjoy reading about. She has some to which I know some of you can relate and which bring back memories of similar episodes during the early child raising years, which some of the rest of us can remember.
Life with Chuckie has afforded me the great pleasure of reliving the wondrous years in the time of a little boy growing up. I am flooded with memories of my three boys, now very grown men, when they, like Chuckie, were always walking around, clutching some treasured action figures. Today, Star Wars figures have replaced the various soldiers, cowboys, and whatever, but the play action remains essentially the same.
Last Saturday, I was invited along on the yearly shopping for school supplies. Some things have changed and others remain the same. There were pencils and markers to buy, but no longer the traditional pencil boxes with small rulers, erasers, and no more pens with points. These have been replaced by ball point pens, gel pens, and colorful markers. Ballpoints didn’t come into existence until World War II. As I recall, the first I ever saw or used came from England and were called Biros. They would only write on paper, if dry, and held in the proper penmanship grip. They also never washed out of anything and could not be erased. Nevertheless, they were wonderful, doing away with the necessity to use nib pointed pens dipped in an inkwell or fountain pens filled from the same. Both these items were anathemas to me as I couldn’t handle either without getting ink on my clothes, my school work, and my skin.
I did finally own a great parker pen, which had a rubber bladder you filled with ink. It had a splendid point and was practically accident proof. It cost more than most other brands, but was worth every penny. I used it to write everything I wrote in college and also used it every day to take shorthand notes dictated by the doctor for whom I worked when going to school. I still have it tucked away somewhere, as a treasured memento.
I was amazed at the numbers of items on display and offered for sale to the big number of school kids of all ages, rambling past me. They all had mothers in tow, and I noted that one thing hadn’t changed. The girls were all very involved in picking out just the right colors of binders, file folders, pens, and everything else that seemed to have to be color coordinated and a particular style. The boys, on the other hand, stood behind Mama, seemingly totally indifferent as she pawed through everything, doing all the selecting. Their lack of enthusiasm for anything to do with back to school activity was evident. I noticed quite a few of them sneaking off to the video game section where browsing suddenly became a sporting event.
I sat there, in my electric shopping cart, trying to remember how the kids and I handled the school shopping bit. I do remember Adele, with her usual efficiency, working from a list, quite happy to be doing a solo job. I don’t think the boys ever joined us. They gave me a non-written list of what they would need and I was the supply sergeant for the outfit. I do remember they couldn’t have cared less what type or color their binders were. Anything they had forgotten to order, I ran out and bought the following weekend.
In their days, and in mine, no one carried a back pack. I do know there were not as many items to tote as there are today. We wanted a back pack that wouldn’t cause too much strain on the spine, as back pack injuries are a growing problem in the country. A perfect one was finally found. It took a bit of searching and some smart thinking on Adele’s part, but once we went to the luggage department, the problem was solved. Chuckie can use his bag to go to Europe or to his school and never feel the strain of carrying books, lunch, snow pants, shoes, etc. He was pretty good about traipsing through the store looking for his gear, but once he had it all, he made a bee line for the video game sales department to join the other reluctant male scholar shoppers.
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