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Back to School Shopping

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It’s mid-July, and I’ve already started shopping for school.

There are two major reasons for this. First, my son is starting kindergarten in about three weeks, and I’m working out my residual anxiety about this Major Milestone by preparing all the physical accoutrements that will be necessary. His school publishes a list of very specific supplies needed for each grade, and I, of course, have started fretting about making sure we are able to find all of those very specific items. I tend to find myself worrying about whether I have actually purchased the correct type of gluestick, since I have to buy two dozen of them.

The second reason is…well, okay, I’ll admit it. I adore new school supplies. I love a box of perfect new crayons, their tips unsullied from scribbling. I love fresh new notebooks full of smooth white paper. I love shiny new scissors and bottles of glue that aren’t all tacky from leftover glue leaking down the sides. I love new lunchboxes that don’t bear any stains from old peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and I love new ballpoint pens with no teethmarks on the caps.

I love it all. I loved buying new school supplies as a kid, and I’m enjoying it just as much now that I’m a parent.

While I was cruising the back-to-school aisle at Target recently, I discovered something really interesting: they’re selling Trapper Keepers again. Remember those? Those big clunky binders with a cover that velcroed shut and took up all the room in your already overstuffed backpack? My favorite one featured a photograph of a hot air balloon. I think I was in the fourth or fifth grade when I had that one. I adored it. It really wasn’t very useful, as we were supposed to use different colored paper folders with the brads in the center for most subjects. But oh, it was cool. Everyone had one–or at least wanted one.

The Trapper Keeper at Target now isn’t nearly as cool. For one thing, I’m thirtymumblesomething now. Also, it’s made out of a weird fabric that seems to be a hybrid of canvas and vinyl. And there are no pictures on the cover; the modern-day TKs only seem to come in solid colors like aqua, magenta and green. But worst of all, there is no velcro closure. How else is a student going to call attention to the fact that she’s getting out her Trapper Keeper to show off if there’s no ripppppping noise from opening the velcro?

Ah well. My son will never know the appeal of the Trapper Keeper, but I’m sure something else will come along to take its place in the hearts and minds of students in his generation.

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