Common Sense Is Needed

The first few days were pretty miserable on the feet. I usually wound up with blisters on my heels from the stiff school shoes rubbing against the heels of my worn knee socks. I could not wait to get home and relieve my feet of the new-school- year-blues and return to the comfort of my old Keds.

Going back to school is not at all like it used to be. It requires much more than a new school bag, a lunch box, several No. 2 lead pencils (no mechanical writing instruments), a fountain pen (ballpoints were not allowed then either) a tablet of paper, round-tipped scissors, a box of crayons, a ruler, an eraser and a pot of white paste.

I remember in first grade one kid brought in the 64-pack of crayons and was quite proud of it. The nun made him remove only the few crayons the rest of us had in our desks and take the remainder of the box home. We groaned because that large pack of crayons had a built-in sharpener. That was pretty high tech for the 1960s.

It’s hard to imagine that I made it through grade school without a computer, cell phone, iPad or White Board in the classroom. Sounds like the Dark Ages of education, doesn’t it? A more precious commodity was a library card and knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System.

Even high school began with me still pecking away on the old manual typewriter my older siblings and I used to write term papers. I think we got bottles of White-Out in our Christmas stockings at one point.

There was little excitement about getting new school clothes in our household as we wore uniforms. Our biggest decision was between wearing a gray or maroon sweater to class that day or choosing the standard pointed-collar blouse or the Peter Pan collar. It was not much of a challenge like its is for kids today whose school clothes rival that of designer-runway contests.

Today, the school supply list looks much the same as it did some 30 years ago only with a few additions. School supplies now include boxes of tissues, rolls of paper towels, highlighters and specialty calculators.

The waning of long summer days soon to be rolling into crisp autumn afternoons reminds us that our kids will be hurrying to bus stops. They may be running across streets without looking sometimes as they are caught up in the excitement of a new school year.

School buses will once again fill our streets and that means more kids everywhere. Please, please take heed of those flashing red lights on the school buses and in school zones.. We’ve managed to keep our kids pretty safe on their journey to and from school despite several close calls between cars and bus riders right here in the local area.

These are your kids and grandkids so let’s work together to keep them safe. That’s something at the top of my back-to-school list. this year.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at