It’s back-to-school time. I no longer have children going back to school. Neither do most of my kids. Some are looking for work after college.
The youngest grandson is still in high school, and the oldest is going to advanced helicopter training, but I don’t think that counts. He is a grown, married man, captain in the Army and soon to be a father.
There are eight grandchildren floating around in various stages of education.
I never got into the back-to-school frenzy. First off, it was still warm, and winter clothing was at least two months down the road.
I also learned through experience that whatever clothing I thought would be a good idea would most likely not be. If it wasn’t “cool” in the opinion of other kids, they would not wear it. That was a simple fact.
Then some would have the nerve to grow another inch or two. That was in the days when unless your pants dragged the ground, it wasn’t “in”.
I remember the year my son was a junior or senior the dress code of cool kids was Levis jeans and Lee shirts with Herman boots. A down vest was added as the snow fell, but hat and gloves was not cool regardless of how cold it was.
This uniform was so prevalent that one day when I pulled up in front of the high school a kid got in the VW bus and as I was pulling out of the parking lot I got a “Thanks for giving me a ride home, Mrs. G.”
I was happy to drive the kid, as it was not unusual to have to drop off other kids, but I still didn’t have my son. So I spun around, picked up my son, dropped him off at the dentist, and drove the other kid home. They both had on identical outfits.
As a matter of fact they had a contest going as to who would be the tallest at graduation. They didn’t march alphabetically; they marched by height, girls first, then boys. Both boys were very tall and thin. I’ll have to ask who was the last in line, as I’ve forgotten.
Off to college was a different issue. Today you will find ads for stuff to coordinate your dorm room. One granddaughter even got in touch with her roommate-to-be so they could coordinate colors.
On this one issue, as I look back, I did go on a guilt trip. But trust me, a few hours of therapy got it out of my system. I sent my kids off with towels, sheets, blankets and whatever they could stuff into their cars. This was stuff that I didn’t care if I ever saw again. (I don’t mean the kids, as I had a lot invested in them by that point).
Color scheme was not high on the list. If they needed anything else for their room, getting a little job would be a good idea. My theory was they should learn to understand why they needed an education.
Poverty was not going to be their comfort zone. If you are never in need, you won’t learn that it is not a stage in life you care to remain in.
Hey, it worked for us.
Margaret Griffin has lived in Sun City Hilton Head for 16 years.