September always brings Back to School thoughts and it’s more than easy to let my mind drift back to days in Virginia when I’d be dreaming of new books, pencils and pads of paper and shopping for new school clothes. I clearly remember the store where my father would take me to get all the finest Richmond had to offer. It was easy when I was in first grade or even third or fourth as I could just get out the Sears catalog and circle all my desired outfits.
Once I was a bit older and wanted the things other kids had, we had to go elsewhere. There was a little clothing store, Flair it was called where the racks were lined with the most beautiful cable knit “Tallyho” brand of sweaters. I can see them now in my minds eye with their covered buttons and lovely soft colors of turquoise and coral and pearl white. And the little skirts that went right along with them, minis that would show off my legs atop my knee socks and penny loafers.
I can remember the year the little white go-go boots were in fashion, the ones that Nancy Sinatra popularized with these boots were made for walkin’ – and all little girls had to have them. I begged my father until he finally relented and I had my own pair with the little zippers up the side and a sole that was definitely not meant to walk in snow. I can remember gingerly walking along the sidewalk, my feet freezing inside the too-thin boots, trying not to fall down but stubbornly wearing them because I wanted to fit in.
I never really did fit in though and when we would have recess and all the others would join together to eat their snacks or do show and tells with special things they brought from home, I’d be down by the back fence, along the tree line, collecting fall leaves or in the classroom with a big sponge and bowl of water, washing the blackboard. That was one of my favorite chores to smooth out that big piece of black slate, wiping away all the numbers and letters and leaving a fresh palette for new things to come – treasures such as new vocabulary words or the names of Columbus’ ships, Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria – or geology terms like geomorphic or fissure. All that knowledge up there in white chalk.
September has a magic to it.