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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)

TITLE: Freshly Sharpened Pencils
By Karla Carlson


I love the fall. It is not just the beautiful colors of the leaves and the crispness in the air, but I love school supplies. I have been out of school for over 15 years and yet I still miss this wonderful yearly tradition. There is something wonderful about the feeling you get when buying school supplies. I love how it is a time of beginning with old and new friends, a time of starting over where the slate is clean and you have a chance to do great things.

As I was in the office supply store a couple of weeks ago I was amazed at the sense of jealousy and reminiscing I felt as I watched students buying their supplies for the year. There was one girl who stood out to me who was in high school. She seemed so much like I used to be, picking out her binders and notebooks with care. They had to be the right color and everything had to match. You could tell that she knew exactly what she was looking for, and she was not going to let her mother sway her from her mission. She wore a private school uniform that was so stereotypical. Her plaid skirt with green, blue and yellow seemed to come straight out of a catalog and she had on a white t-shirt that was spotless and looked like it had been pressed. Around her waist she wore a navy blue summer sweater that she had been tied out of the way, which I assume she wore in class because the rooms may get cold. Her shoes were my favorite, because they were classic navy blue penny loafers with white socks.

As I looked at her I could totally see myself back when I was in school. Everyone wore the same thing every day and it was your shoes, accessories and school supplies that set you apart so they had to be perfect. You walk into school on that first day nervous yet so excited to see what the new school year has to bring. Some are nervous that they will forget their locker combination or if they know anyone in their homeroom class. Then as they arrive and file into the room and sit down they begin to set their notebooks on their desks waiting for everything to start. I was always the one looking around to see what everyone else’s notebooks looked like or what kind of pens they were using. Then as the teacher walks into the room to start class everyone takes a deep breath and life begins again as you move forward into a new year of learning. For some this is a fun and exciting time, for some it is stressful and for some agony. For me, it was a time where not much set me apart from my friends but I knew that when they saw the pink notebook and matching supplies they knew it was mine.

As I left the store that day it took everything that was in me to not run back in there for a package of pencils or a new notebook. I did not need either, but love and miss the feeling of newness and starting over that they bring. What an amazing time in life where you have everything in front of you and you are discovering that with a little drive and passion you can truly become anything you want to be.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Chelsie May09/03/09
You really captured the emotion here! And I know what you mean too. I've been having so much fun the last week as we starting homeschooling our oldest this year. (He's five.) I love that "Back to school" feeling. :)
A. Carol Martin09/04/09
Excellent writing. It made me want to go to Staples right now.
Lisa Johnson09/08/09
You have approached autumn in a very unique way, with a very interesting POV. I may just have to go get some sharpened pencils myself.