Fall gives me energy. Maybe it’s all those years starting school in the fall, going to the store to buy new notebooks and folders that made me feel like everything was beginning all over again. My dad wasn’t one to take me shopping much. He was a single dad and so shopping for my shoes, clothes, school supplies fell to him except for when he could pass it on to his second wife.
As I got older I wanted to shop at Lerner’s, but my dad thought Sears was perfectly fine. My choices were limited, but it didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the start of fall and the school year.
One year, the August before I started high school (10th grade in my hometown), my mom got to take me shopping instead. We went to a mall in Houston. It was several floors and had an elevator, and my hometown mall could’ve fit in its parking garage. My mother gave me a budget, but let me go into any store I wanted.
I was a bookish, awkward teen. I didn’t like name brands or teen idols. My idea of rebellion was to skip school to go to an art festival. But I loved the opportunity to shop for a few fashionable clothes. Although, when I say fashionable, the clothes I bought weren’t fashionable at all. Or if they were, I didn’t wear them in the fashionable way. Madonna wasn’t big yet, and all the bracelets I decided to wear were weird. And I insisted on wearing boots in spite of the Florida heat.
But walking into the high school for the first time with my crisp white blouse, wide gray belt, gray boots, and clutter of bracelets, I felt like everything was starting over.
And high school is a new universe, isn’t it?
Recently, I returned to my hometown for a few days. We drove by my high school, and it’s probably not surprising that it’s very different. My mother went to the same high school, by the way. If she were alive, I’m sure she wouldn’t recognize it. So much of it is new. The old version, my version, is the one I use for my stories. My second novel (that is being edited now) has several scenes in a high school, but not a high school like in a John Hughes film. Gosh, how I thought though schools were impossibly clean and nice. Maybe the inside of my high school look more like a John Hughes film now.
What kind of school comes to your mind when you think of high school?
Anyway, summer is ending here in our northern hemisphere. Things feel new again. A new novel to announce soon (I hope). We have a new plan for my son’s education to work out. I have a new art show in October and my first book signing in a few weeks (eek!).
What are you looking forward to?