Monday, August 31, 2009

I Love School Teachers

The return to school inspired me to write this column for Small Town Paper. So far there is only one online comment, but it's early, and maybe the cranky types just haven't gotten to their computers yet.

I really do have a sense that back-to-school is a season as much as summer and autumn. Just the approach of Labor Day triggers something that makes me want to buy new school clothes and shoes and supplies. My mother made my clothes when I was in elementary school, and she would take me to the fabric store to look through the pattern books and to hunt for fabric that was suitable for my age. She was always concerned that I not choose material that was meant for adults. When I was in eighth grade, she stopped sewing so much, and I was allowed to actually buy clothes at a store.

She would allow me to buy one pair of shoes for the classroom and one pair for gym class, which only somewhat took the sting out of the trauma of gym class. If I had outgrown my Sunday shoes, I would have to buy a pair of black pattens, too. I always hated those shoes because they were the least comfortable and the most girly.

Although, come of it, it wasn't until I was in the fourth or fifth grade that girls were allowed to wear pants to school. We had a strict dress code in our public school—with all the hippies hanging out in the playground or grunging up the sidewalks in town, the school board was afraid the little kids would be improperly influenced by the loosening of American culture if we weren't governed by plenty of rules. So, we all had to look traditionally girly nearly every day of the week.

Well, back to school for some, but not for me, and the schedule is so ingrained in my psyche, I feel a little left out. Maybe all I need is a new pair of shoes.


Lynn said...

he he. You were lucky though, Robyn, choosing ANY material. In England we have uniform of course, so the fabric and style were pre-ordained. No choice to be had, except the overused trick of folding our waistbands over and over to make mini skirts, hurriedly unrolling them again when Miss or Sir appeared. That was about it. I have a photo of me in that short short skirt. Looking at it, I've no wonder the roll-over technique was strictly frowned upon.

There was one year I recall, when in our dressmaking class, we were told we could make the style of our choice for summer dress, but it had to be in the uniform print. We girls went to our local shop, moaned and pouted at having to buy the little flower blue print fabric, but then delighting in the dresses we made. We did most of it at home, which annoyed Teach' enough, and turned up at school with cute little strappy numbers, plunging necklines and hems which brushed our knickers. Boy were we in trouble! Were sent straight back to the shop for more material and our summer designs were remodelled into aprons for next term's project. Pah. School life.

Lynn said...

I think we call pattens patent? If that's what you mean, I loved them and really wanted them. They weren't allowed for school though :( pah again.

dive said...

A nice editorial piece, Robyn. So refreshing to look at the teachers at this time of year instead of the parents desperate to get rid of their kids after having them under their feet all summer.

Don't buy new shoes; instead, be rebellious and dress like a hippy and go hang around outside the school.

Scout said...

Lynn, the idea that your strappy dress made a suitable apron is such a funny image. You naught girls.

Dive, my kids already accuse me of dressing like a hippie sometimes, but I'm really just a fraud.

savannah said...

2 words: catholic school. ;~D

(great piece, sugar!)

MmeBenaut said...

No trousers at my school Robyn. Even our gym clothes were ladylike! We had to wear black full briefs underneath our dresses though.
I can't remember what I wore for gym shoes; certainly nothing like today's reeboks or nikes. Sandshoes most likely; not that I played tennis at school, I was the school swimming champion - won the cup three years in a row in my age groups - which really indicates how academically focussed my school was. I had to give up swimming to concentrate on physics and chemistry. Now that's a piece of history I'd almost forgotten but the physics did help when I studied architecture and also learned to fly. Am going to read your "piece" now.

Lynn said...

he he we were naughty. Yes they were slips of dresses. lol.

Dive I never recall being pleased my boys were going back to school and never felt they were under my feet. I don't know if Robyn would agree, but summer holidays were pure bliss, having them there all the time...