Ahhh. The smell of school. Maybe I am weird, but every time I returned to school after a summer of absence I noticed that it always smelled the same. Kind of like maple bars and play dough. That obviously changed as the school year wore on and students left moldy food in their lockers and in their desks.
Perhaps that is why I always liked the start of school. It smelled fresh and new. Most of my academic life was spent in the same buildings in the same town, so having the first day feel different was exciting.
The first day of school was always fun because there was no homework and there wasn't any left-over tater tot surprise in the speed line. Cheese zombies were always served on the first day of school.
The line with all of the left over food was called the speed line, probably because nobody went to that line, therefore making it speedy to get food.
Tater tot surprise was a common meal at my school. Those of you who have never heard of it are very lucky. I know that it definitely had tater tots in it, but the ingredients changed as whatever was leftover from the week was tossed into it.
Just recently my friend Heather invited me over to eat tater tot casserole at her house. Memories of gray tater tots and limp veggies all mixed up flashed through my mind. At first, I tried telling her I was allergic to tater tots, but she convinced me to eat it, and it was really good. Those tater tot casserole scars from childhood have been healed thanks to her.
There were other things I enjoyed about the start of school, like shopping for example. Clothes shopping was fun, but I really liked shopping for supplies. Up until sixth grade, I wore a lot of stretch pants. Pink stretch pants. So, since clothes weren't high on my list, I would spend most of my time trying to decide between the glitter pens and the erasable highlighters.
Sports were also another highlight for the beginning of the school year. In the fall, the P.E. classes would play dodge ball. It wasn't as crazy as the movie with Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughan, but it was pretty competitive.
Softball was my absolute favorite sport because it did not involve a lot of running. I was a pretty good hitter, so I did not have to run fast to make it to base. I played the position of catcher, which allowed me to get out a lot of aggression. Nobody got anywhere near home plate; I was a tackler.
One year I got suckered into joining the track team. The track coach told me that I wouldn't have to run, I could just throw the shot-put and discus. Well, they kept their word, I did throw the shot-put and discus, but ended up running on a relay team. Throwing the shot-put turned out to be pretty embarrassing as I had to compete with boys because the girl's shot-put was too light. Surprisingly, the running didn't kill me and I ended up having fun, even though my relay team came in dead last at every meet.
That was what I liked about the first few weeks of school you never knew what was going to happen. Everything else was the same, the chairs, the desks, school, the teachers, but the smell of the new school year always gave promise of new things I would learn about myself.