A whimsical look at life growing up in the small town of Waldron, Arkansas in the 1960s and 1970s, plus occasional observations from the present. Want to start at the very beginning? Click HERE.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back To School

I was one of those kids that couldn't wait for school to start. Although after a few weeks, I was as bored as everyone else, I always felt a great sense of excitement as August drew near. There's just something about buying new school supplies; even today Office Depot is one of my favorite stores. In the early days, I guess we got our school supplies from Buddy Gray's grocery store. Buddy had an adequate supply of school products, but nothing to get very excited about...after all, his main business was groceries. Occasionally, we would shop at Parsley's for our school supplies. There the selection was a bit more varied.

But Back-to-School shopping really took off when Waldron finally got a Ben Franklin store. The advertising circular would come in the mail in late July or early August. I would linger over the pictures, planning exactly which marvelous products I would use. Three-ring binder, yes-but not the blue canvas kind that Buddy Gray sold; this one had a cool Peter Maxx painting on the front and back cover. A pencil case; a necessity. One year I even bought a fountain pen, perhaps the most impractical writing instrument ever sold to a junior-high student. But I used it and was proud.

At the beginning of my seventh grade year, I realized that I needed something to carry my books around in, since we were entering the world of Junior High, our first time to actually change classes. Ben Franklin advertised a gym bag for five dollars, but being the discerning shopper that I was, I noticed that you actually had your choice of a gym bag or an attache' case, either one for five dollars. Now, I had seen how striking an attache' case looked, because Darren Stevens on Bewitched carried one all the time. That's what I wanted; an attache' case! Just imagine how the girls would be impressed when they saw me carrying my attache' case through the halls of Waldron Junior High!

I hurried down to Ben Franklin and bought my case. It was beautiful. I carefully arranged all my other new school supplies in the case. I wondered if it would fit in my locker, but no worry; I'd be carrying it most of the time anyway. I was set. Come on first day of school.

The night before the first day, I began to have second thoughts. Perhaps the student body of Waldron Junior High wasn't quite ready for a guy with an attache case. Maybe if I lived in a bigger town, like Fort Smith, it might go over, but I had an uneasy feeling about my case. I agonized about it overnight, but when the morning arrived, I made the decision to leave my new attache' case at home.

I don't know why reason somehow prevailed. I'm sure if I had carried my new attache' case to school, I would probably have been straightened out by some fellow who saw the need to put Attache' Boy in his place. Fighting was not my thing; I was only in one fight ever in school and that girl nearly killed me. So, I put all my new school supplies in my locker and locked it securely with the new combination lock that I had purchased at Ben Franklin.

I guess the end of this story is a pretty good example of what I'm all about. I kept my attache' case at home, and used it to store important stuff. And I still have it today, and it is full of important stuff...momentos and memories from my days at Waldron Public School.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhhh, the Ben Franklin Store - there simply was not a cooler place to shop in all of Scott County !!!!