PROMPTuesday #20: Memory Description

Today marks back-to-school time, and when I was a kid, I loved this time of year. It’s why I adore autumn. All summer, I anticipated the week before school, when I’d hurry out to buy my school supplies, stick pennies in my loafers, and carefully cover my textbooks.


But I was a geek.


How about you? What are your back-to-school memories? Tell us about one. Your memory can be your own, or one from watching your child go to school, or a story inspired by a memory, or anything back-to-school-y. Either way, make us smell the must of the chalk or the acridity of teen spirit.


The Rules:

  • Try to write your entry in 10 minutes. This encourages top-of-mind, primal thinking before the ego and judgmental brain kick in. Just set a timer, make your kid count to 600 slowly, whatever. It’s an honor system. And I trust you.
  • Aim for 250 words or less.
  • Please have fun. Don’t put pressure on yourself. Together, let’s rediscover the simple joy in the writing process.
  • Post your submission in the comments OR post in your blog and leave a link to your blog in the comments.


First time to PROMPTuesday? Read a bit about it here.
Want to see what’s been written in the past? Catch up on the PROMPTuesdays archive here.


[Earlier Today…


Management reports that PROMPTuesday is delayed this morning due to an unprecedented amount of waking up during the night exacerbated by the sound of saws (possibly used to nefariously drill a hole in the downstairs window) and the persistent belief that a bootlegging demon robber lurked on the patio.


The Rock helpfully, and a little bit irritably, suggests that management record Paranormal State on subsequent Mondays, so that management may watch the show from now on DURING THE DAY and surrounded by a circle of white light.


Check back for PROMPTuesday in a few hours. I’ll post right after the smudging ceremony.]


13 Responses to “PROMPTuesday #20: Memory Description”

  1. Tanya Kyi says:

    Apparently I have some unresolved school supply issues. For instance, why were we never allowed to buy coil-ring notebooks. Were they really THAT likely to get tangled with each other?

  2. […] she’s absolutely right that school’s in session, she’s off on the timing. Most of our schools started back a week or two ago. Yeah, […]

  3. mami Jen says:

    The night before school was always my favorite. I can hardly wait for my little ones to enter school. Well maybe, I can. Things have changed and some arn’t for the better.

  4. I remember my very first day of school. I had been judged one week too young to have been able to start the year before, so I had quite literally been anticipating my first day of kindergarten for over a year. Everything was so new and exciting. I remember marveling at the teeny hard plastic chairs and low, wide desks. Everything was brightly colored and just the right size, like Baby Bear’s chair in the Goldilocks story. I remember being shocked and disappointed, even at five years old, by how many of the other kids had not learned to read already. I still remember the names and faces of a good dozen kids from my Kindergarten class. I remember fighting against my instincts and prissily telling myself that, yes, it is okay to paint with your fingers, as long as I don’t get paint on my outfit. And, yes, there you have it. Of all my kindergarten memories, what I remember most are my outfits.

    My mother has always been a very frugal and resourceful woman. In an effort to save (and eventually make) money, she became quite an accomplished refinisher of battered desks and dressers, re-upholsterer of worn out chairs, and sewer of clothing for both herself and for me. In fact, there is a two-page fashion spread in the family photo album that chronicles my first week of school in outfits. Five days, five hairdo’s, five outfits. . . one pattern. It’s pretty impressive, actually. The pattern was a skirt set. You could either make it as a skirt and vest combo, a skirt with attached suspenders, or a skirt with an overall-style bib front. My mother did all three in an array of fabrics (mostly man-made), but my favorite was the bib-front in a dark purple corduroy, velvety to the touch, with multi-colored flowers in the pattern. I’d sit primly in one of the hard chairs and periodically glance down to smooth my skirt over my lap, just to feel the luxurious fabric under my hands. I happened to love going to school, but even if I hadn’t? I would have begged to go solely for the purpose of showing off my outfits.

  5. vodkamom says:

    When I was in kindergarten, a little boy brought me flowers to school. I was very upset by this, and didn’t accept them. As the day went on, i was called into the principals office. She wanted to know why i wouldn’t accept HER SON’S flowers! I started crying hysterically! I still cry when i get called to the principal’s office, and now I know why!

  6. These are fun to read. My sons started school yesterday too, so I’m frazzled and behind the power curve.

    I remember the outfits too – but especially the new school shoes. I couldn’t wear them until the first day of school. Mom made my pony tails so tight that my head itched though – it was all good.

  7. deborah says:

    I missed yesterday, because I was out of whack with the long weekend. I hope you don’t mind and sorry it’s not a gaily anticipated first day of school fun read!:

    I will be starting my second year of boarding school in a few days at age 10. The tall iron gates will clang shut, I will watch between the bars as my parent’s car recedes into the distance, not to return for weeks, and I will be alone with strangers and the ghoulish figures of black robed nuns. Shortly thereafter, amid this grim environment, I will turn 11. For the first time in my short life, I anticipated my birthday with dread. Oh, we had celebrated at home of course. A cake, presents, my parents in attendance with plastic smiles plastered on their faces, nervously attempting to lighten my spirit, smug in the assurances they had made to one another about the exceptional education I was privileged to receive. My oblivious little sisters hovering around for their slice of sweetness. But already settled in the pit of my stomach was a leaden weight, the knowledge that the real day loomed ahead, to be virtually ignored, to be endured alone.

    Boarding school held no allure for me. I was a loner, I questioned religion, I challenged the nun’s authority, I was a non-conformist and they tried vainly every day to squeeze my square peg frame into their round hole ways. They never succeeded, but this was small satisfaction to a young girl who spent so many years in their clutches, and to this day thoughts of the school has the power to rob me of my breath and make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

  8. Deborah – Your DESCRIPTION makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Perfectly conveyed. I think I’m cured of romanticizing boarding school.

  9. tinsenpup says:

    Sorry if this appears twice, but my first comment never appeared. Here’s my rather tardy attempt. Thank goodness this is not school. Deb would give me a lunchtime detention for sure!

  10. Temple Stark says:

    England, my tale on foolscap at my blog.

    and deborah, foreboding personified – and a lifetime of psychiatric “assistance” …

  11. tinsenpup says:

    Okay, this is attempt #3 to get a comment on here. I think I’m scaring the page with my primitive html, so I’m leaving it off this time, but I had a go at this prompt on my blog if anyone would like to read it.

  12. manager mom says:

    I remember going to school in the fifth grade, all excited on my first day. I walked into the classroom to discover…that they had moved my third grade teacher (who I had SOUNDLY HATED, because she treated me horribly) up to the fifth, and I had her again.

    I remember bursting into tears.

    Honestly, I don’t remember much more from fifth grade.

  13. Chris says:

    I remember not being able to sleep the night before. I’d picked out my clothes and I was excited to see my school friends. I was especially excited to see the girl that I had a crush the previous year. I’d asked myself if this year she would at lest notice or acknowledge me. I’d convinced my self that she would since I’ve changed a lot. I became cooler and mature over the summer.

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