Another Brick In The Wall

something-yellow.jpg I remember two things about the end of summer vacation as a child.

First was the shopping trip to get back to school clothes and supplies. Mom would take us out and we’d get those packs of paper, notebooks (spiral and 3 ring binder), cellophane wrapped flats of #2 Ticonderoga Pencils (and eventually pens – we even went early to pens when the whole ‘erasable ink craze’ swept the mid-west). We’d get the extra thick Lees and eventually persuade Mom to pop the extra for Levis’ when we became fashion conscious (though my friends who knew me then would doubt I was ever conscious of fashion) in junior high. For a big part of high school I would wear only “Painter’s Pants”, usually by Oshkosh. I’m not sure why I liked those pants so much other than the multiple pockets and the loose fit. I still like lots of pockets.

Mom would take pictures of me and my brother as we boarded the bus for that first day back in the new grade. This continued into the start of high school. I was a nervous bundle of potential as I jumped on the bus with my book bag, trombone, chin covered in zits, braces on my teeth and my glasses that slowly turned dark in the sun and light in the shade but always seemed to be in the wrong transition inside or out. I remember those first days as magical and exciting: new faces, new classes, and a fresh page to start on. Or mostly fresh. We still had our social class structure: the burnouts, the preppies, the jocks, the raa-raas, the nerds. By the end of that first day back there was usually a mixture of dread and anticipation for the year ahead.

The other thing that sticks with me from those old days that I looked forward to at summers end was the fall preview of the new cartoon season on Saturday mornings on the 3 big networks. Cable has changed all this but back in the day they’d get some TV family to do a fake episode that previewed all the cartoons that were returning or coming to TV for the first time. I loved cartoons and Saturday mornings. I’ll go on record as admitting that continued on pretty much up through, um, the advent of cable and the death of the Saturday a.m. cartoon fest (somewhen after the birth of my firstborn).

I watched shows like H.R. Puffnstuff, Lidsville, all things Batman and the Justice League (despising the Wonder Twins). I loved the Herculoids, Space Ghost (before he became a talk show host), Shazam/Isis Hour, Fat Albert, Tarzan, Bugs Bunny, the Jetsons. Sigh. I was a cartoon junkie and I lived for my Saturday morning fix.

I miss the rhythm of life from those days. I miss that feeling of excitement of starting that new year that put me one year closer to the end of my school days. I miss Johnny Quest. I don’t miss the zits. I don’t miss the awkwardness of liking someone and dying a thousand deaths about telling them and a thousand more when they went out with someone who had the confidence to ask. I miss being in the first class to use a new textbook. I miss the feeling I had discovering the Lord of the Rings for the first time in the school library. I don’t miss boring teachers. I do miss Tede. I wouldn’t go back if I could but I do like rummaging around in the trunk of my memories at this time of year as summer surrenders to school bells.


About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
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6 Responses to Another Brick In The Wall

  1. shellie says:

    You mean Saturday mornings AREN’T for cartoons anymore?? Dang, I missed that memo! Actually, thanks to Cartoon Network, Toonami and Nickelodeon, I can watch cartoons pretty much 24/7!! (I could fib and say I only turn it on for the kids… buuut I’m not a very good fibber.) I also miss Johnny Quest, and Scooby Doo and Thundercats and Voltron… and I actually like Space Ghost even more as a talk show host! ^_^ (Nowadays I’m more likely to be watching Samurai Jack, Rurouni Kenshin and anything Gundam… but there’s nothing like the old classics. 🙂

    As for the first day of school, I don’t know that I remember it as “magical and exciting.” You always did have the coolest glasses though! Those color changing lenses were high-tech! And you were years ahead of your time with the carpenter’s pants. (I wouldn’t have worn them in high school, but they’re my favorites nowadays.)

    And did you really find Lord of the Rings in the library? I thought I loaned you mine. (Or do I have that backwards and you loaned me yours to read??) I still have my copies from high school with the unicorn nameplate in the front! haha! They are well-worn from many readings over the years. I do wish I still had that Frodo airbrushed t-shirt I got when we went to that artist’s place in Springfield! ^_^ (Yes, I’m still a complete geek.)

  2. brianmpei says:

    Cartoons only on Saturday morning added something to their sacredness for me but I definitely watch teletoons when I find something I like (not often anymore).

    My memory is of finding the Hobbit and LOTR in the school library as large, harback editions that had been recovered in these hideous orange covers that were either made of fiberglass or duct tape. I remember these primarily because of how big the maps were. I could’ve borrowed your copies, definitely something I would’ve done, particularly if one of the library copies was out.

    I have the Frodo airbrushed t-shirt.

  3. shelleyperry says:

    those eraseable ink pens never really worked did they? …so disappointing.

    Thanks for reminding about those long-lost feelings about September…working in the school system I still get some of those still, and I definitely get excited about new seasons starting on Primetime (The Office starts again on Sept. 27th, don’t miss it!)

  4. shellie says:

    You have the Frodo shirt??? You MUST take a pic of you wearing it. I need to see that. Not just want… NEED. It’s a must. 🙂

    (As I recall, I really wanted Glorfindel… but the guy didn’t have any elves. Do I remember that correctly?)

  5. brianmpei says:

    Yes, you had a big thing for Glorfindel – who NEVER made the movie by the way.

    I’ll take a picture of the shirt but NOT with me wearing it. It would look like Frodo was standing in front of a funhouse mirror if I had it on.

  6. shellie says:

    Don’t rub it in about him not making it into the movie. They gave all his good scenes to Arwen. 😦

    You + shirt = Frodo in a funhouse mirror ……… some great mental images there!

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