It was an unlikely combination of excitement and dread. Not knowing what to expect from the new grade and the new teacher was perhaps the early stages of my lifelong anxiety condition but it somehow seemed like the right time for summer to end.
I remember vividly the annual trek to Ideal Uniform store on Flatbush avenue to get our uniforms (Catholic School boy that I was). It's a bit ironic to include a link to their website because back in those days, the web thing didn't exist. Catalog shopping in those days was limited to Spiegel, Sears, and JC Penney (for the most part) and it was all done with paper and pen and snail mail, and occasionally a phone call (using a rotary phone of course). Of all the parts of the uniform, the clip on tie stands out the most.
There was nothing quite like the first day of school, it was always, at least for me, always downhill from there. The being picked on really sucked but then being something of a troublemaker, more than likely a mix of rebellion and attempting to be cool so that I wouldn't get picked on, I had to deal witht those sex deprived nuns whacking at me with yard sticks (I guess it was just a bad habit).
I remember the endless crushes, on girls and teachers, especially Miss Ortega in 6th grade. That was one fine lady as I remember her more than 30 years later (this made me just remember that I need to investigate if there's gonna be a High School reunion this year, it a biggie, #25).
I remember Miss Cody being so friggin' menacing that I'd rather pee my pants than ask her permission to go to the bathroom.
I remember the really high ceiling in the boys room and throwing wet toilet paer up to the ceiling where it would stick. Then I remember doing that at home and getting my ass whooped for it.
All these years later, back to school remains significant as I have chosen a career in education. what an insanely glorious time of year that I still dread, but love.