[back by popular demand / originally published August 4, 2004]
Last week Mason County News published the School Supply List for Mason Elementary and Mason Junior High.
You can probably find most of these items at Hinckley’s General Store.
Anyway, I was so intrigued I just couldn’t put it down.
The list began with Pre-K.
One large box of crayons. One box of Kleenex. And a rest mat.
Ain’t life grand?
You can color. You can cry if you want to. And you can take a nap.
Then it goes to Kindergarten where the whole world opens up with watercolors, scissors, glue, No. 2 pencils, crayola markers, crayons, and even a notebook just like the big kid. Plus the rest mat.
Enjoy it while it lasts.
First-Graders, buckle up. There’ll be no more rest for you. Mats are a thing of the past. But you still get that box of Kleenex. You’ll probably need it since they replaced your rest mat with a backpack specifically for “carrying books and papers” (do you see where this is going?).
In Second Grade, things really heat up. There’s red pencils and colored pencils plus lots of regular pencils and a pencil sharpener (which means you’re gonna be wearing out those No. 2s) plus erasers and a ruler and two spiral notebooks and (gulp)…two boxes of Kleenex.
Whew. We’re now at what age? Six? Seven?
Ah, childhood is but a fading memory.
Third Grade also gets two boxes of Kleenex. Which is good because they’ve now added one more spiral notebook (that makes three), grading pencils (don’t dare draw with them), five pocket folders, and a pencil box.
So cry your eyes out while you can because in Fourth Grade you’re back to one box of Kleenex. And lose the crayons. Who do you think you are? A kid or something?
And you can kiss color goodbye. You’re entering the black-and-white world of reality, except we’ll let you keep a red pen and some colored pencils just to help you through this transition.
Because Fifth and Sixth Grade ain’t for sissies.
It’s a black-and-blue world out there. You get notebook paper, pencils, a ruler, scissors, glue…and black and blue pens. And one red checking pen. So don’t go thinking that’s for fun or anything silly like that.
The good news is you still get one box of Kleenex.
You’ll need it as you enter Seventh and Eighth Grade.
If you thought it would get easier, forget it.
By now, color is a distant memory. (Notice the watercolors didn’t hang around very long.)
Instead, you’ll need even more notebook paper, more dividers and markers and pencils and pens and spiral notebooks and folders and reinforcements (reinforcements?). Plus, an extra-large binder. And a protractor (that sounds like it might hurt). And a big ol’ backpack to carry it all.
And one box of Kleenex.
I’m about ready to burst into tears.
Renee Walker is a poet, writer, and real estate broker on the Square.