“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”–Nora Ephron

I love the smell of school supplies (note to self: don’t mention this on a first date). It’s what I miss the most about going to school.

The August ritual of pushing around a square shopping cart with my mom, carefully selectng the freshest box of 64 Crayola Crayons, packs of wide-ruled paper, the perfect Trapper Keeper–now that’s a word I miss saying on a daily basis. “Hey you, keep your hands off my Lisa frank Trapper Keeper”.

The seasons were about to switch, trading in bathing suits and sunscreen for the changing of leaves and leather jackets. And with a new grade, came a fresh, more grown up start. Every year the school supplies list got more serious, from having to purchase tissues and glue sticks to protractors and compasses for classes that would leave you spending most of the year scratching your noggin’ and wondering if ever in life will you have to know how to find the square root of a complex number or bust out long division.

But none of that mattered then, those were September’s problems. On school supplies shopping day, it was all about strategy. The right tools to make us succeed came in the form of Milky pens, neon post-it notes, bright sharpie markers.

We promised ourselves we would stay more organized. Less passing of the notes to friends across the room, less waiting for the night before the exam to read chapter’s 1-17. Ask more questions, stay after class for tutoring, aim to get all a’s.

Standing in the aisles of Office Depot, holding on to things wrapped in plastic. Freshly lined stacks of paper, unused composition books, unstoppable attitudes.

Of knowing, deep down into your Jansport backpack that come Halloween, binders would inevitably be broken, B’s would fancy minus signs next to them, graphic calculators suddenly misplaced.

But none of that mattered then, buried underneath a mountain of stuff we were eager to hug, willing to beg for, desperately sure that we absolutely positively could not start the third grade without.

I’m Jen Glantz. I’ve been a published writer for over 13 years, spilling my words into magazines (ranging from style to scuba diving), newspapers, websites and even this one time, a speech, for someone who didn’t speak a word of English. What drives my words, my site, my writing, is the power of relating to people. I find that many people, especially young girls, feel so alone and quite often they feel embarrassed. I want to shatter those feelings! I want them to read what I write and understand that it’s okay to be a little outside of the box, but most importantly, that it is okay to just be who they are.

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