RITES OF PASSAGE
Yesterday I went to my local discount store for a short list of necessities. Necessities are likely to be augmented by an item or two that won’t break the budget but will please me in some way.Such as: School Supplies!
It’s that time, folks—photocopied lists of supplies for each grade of public school—four short aisles, stuffed full, devoted exclusively to the needs (and desires) of shoppers who have elementary school children. Or, people like me.
|Desert or Jungle?|
|A little impulse....|
What I did buy (besides the little items that fit neatly in the plastic box), were spiral notebooks—four of them, one-subject, 70 sheets each, roughly 9x12 inches. They’re ideal for making notes for my stories, writing scenes, or sometimes jut noodling ideas. And I bought one composition book (the kind we used in college a few decades ago) for my daily journal. I have a stash of these—different colored covers, or covers with different designs in black and white—but it’s always good to have an extra. You know, just in case.What has any of this to do with Rites of Passage? I’m glad you asked. If your memory is still functioning, you’ll recall that once upon a time school supplies were strictly allocated per grade. In first grade—thick pencils about a half-inch in diameter, that filled a small fist trying to make the loops and slashes that turned into words; a very wide-ruled tablet for the little fist to practice those words; and an eraser, for the inevitable error.
Fast forward to fourth grade—talk about your rite of passage! We got to write (yes, cursively write) with fountain pens! And real ink! That was my first real intimation that I might, someday, be included in the adult world. Grownups wrote with ink and fountain pens. Teachers. Parents. The lady at the bank.Much later, probably junior high (middle school to you younger folks), more freedoms were bestowed on us. We could actually choose our own three-ring binders, write all over the outside if we wanted to. Sadly, by the time I entered seventh or eighth grade, the ubiquitous ball point pen had come into being. I hung on to my fountain pens through several more decades; but eventually it became difficult to get quality ink and I retired my favorites to a drawer where I can visit them on occasion. And I still search for top-of-the-line ink for those precious pens.
Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren are experiencing rites of passage in the electronic age: second grade, iPads; fourth grade, tablets; sixth grade, laptops. All supplied by the school, with rental supplied by the parents. Inevitable, I suppose. After all, the world has become electronic in character. And my inner child sighs a little for the days of thick pencils and wide-lined tablets.
I still get a warm feeling, though, when I see little folks with big crayons in their fists coloring the placemats in restaurants. I wonder if any of them have Camo Whammo?