Sunday, September 09, 2007

Big Chief and Plaid Dresses-Back to School!

Yesterday, Mr Bankerchick and I were out driving around trying to get our shopping done and listening to Prairie Home Companion, they were doing a compilation of school days stories, and he really got the Bankerchicks talking and thinking about how we got ready to go back to school. We are both in agreement that we were anxious to get back to school after the summer. He grew up in southern Missouri and I grew up in Southern California so BTS shopping was a little different for both of us. I was familiar with Big Chief tablets since my Grandparents had one around the house so my cousin, brother, and I could entertain ourselves with drawing and writing, however, I grew up in the Glory Days of California education, when one did not have to shop much for school supplies as they were provided for us. I can remember the early years of school where the class room monitors would pass out the manila paper with the big lines so we could practice our handwriting. I believed the teacher was mispronouncing the word and could not figure out why they called it vanilla paper for years. I always had a new lunch box and thermos, as we played with the old one all summer and they were dirty and broken by September.

Back to shopping We also shopped differently, Both moms had to get new school shoes for us as we always had gone barefoot all summer outgrew our shoes every few months. In California September can somtimes be the hottest month so I usually started the year with some of summers sundresses and short sleeve shirts and skirts that my mother made for me. We always wore dresses or skirts to school in the conservative '50s and changed into play clothes after school. I usually got a new sweater and jacket, sometimes a hand me down from my older cousins Betsy and Sharon, and it was many years before I resented that, because it was good stuff. My new clothes came from my Christmas gifts later in the cooler months and what my mother sewed for me. I can't remember feeling bad about homemade clothes as she sewed beautifully.

Mr B had the Big Chief book, the pencils, Roy Rogers Pencil box or whoever was popular, and new eraser etc. He had new shirts, as his mom worked at a shirt factory and sewed up shirts from her own material on breaks and such. They were not rich, but his mom was proud, so Mr B usually had the basics that he needed because his mom was careful with her money and always used lay-a-way. He always got to wear his new school clothes because Fall always started in September in Missouri. I usually started wearing my new clothes in late October or November.

Fall clothes were in the stores in August and September, in California but it never was cool enough on the first day of school to wear them, except for the new red or green plaid dress my mom would alway have for me to wear on the first day of school. A tradition that went on for years as she always sent or I bought a new plaid dress for my girls to wear for elementary school, day 1.

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