Monday, July 14, 2008

Random Ramblings About School Supplies

Crayon Sniffer

Each summer I anticipate the annual putting-out-of-the-school-supplies at Wal-mart and Office Max. There’s something entrancing about having a thousand different options for index cards that I don’t feel any other time of the year. A rainbow of ten-cent colored folders (both pocket and with brads) reminds me of childhood drawings I made with leprechauns and pots of gold. I lift the folders out of their box, rub my hand over the cover, and mull over the texture and the placement of the brads. Will this be the perfect folder? I count and recount hordes of folders and gleefully place them in my cart.

Crayons entice all the senses. The untapped potential to draw a lopsided pumpkin, to delineate regions on a map, to shave the wax and create colored confetti on a landscape-all the senses are engaged. Plus, they have the best smell. I step in close to the shelf so no one will see me and put the yellow and green box to my nose. I deeply inhale the innocence of my youth and my mouth waters for a large helping of paste. I add them to my stash and quickly move down the aisle.

Paper, paper, paper everywhere! Wide ruled, college ruled, primary ruled, no lines or ruled! Construction paper, drawing paper, tissue paper- I am delirious with the varieties. How do I decide? Paper is my blank canvas. On it, I will write my plans for my students, notes home to parents, and the poems of my soul. The endless sea of paper beckons me to its shores as I gently place a sampling of each kind with the other treasures in my cart.

My pencil choices are no less easy. Mechanical, wood, recycled fibers, number two, and number whatever. I am giddy with the choices. I pick some up and roll them in my palms. Which pencil will be the tool of my greatness? Yellow Ticonderoga, the pencil of champions graces my cart as I move to the next decision…..erasers! Pink Pearl, White Gum, cap or bar….Who needs erasers? I will add none to my cart. The school year ahead is a clean slate, and there are no erasure marks, no errors, no blots on the page. For this brief time, I am content to feel the pencils, smell the crayons, and dive into the paper of the school year to come.

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