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Hartselle Enquirer

Marking the first day of school

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
In a drawer at my mother's house is a small picture of me on my first day of school.
I'm wearing my favorite outfit, a blue and white pantsuit with sailors on the legs and across the shirt. In my hand is a book bag with a big red apple on the front. Inside the book bag was a bag of chips, my new school supplies and lunch money. The money – I believe it was 45 cents – was in a special pocket inside the book bag. I remember checking to make sure the quarter and two dimes were there about 100 times before I left the house that morning.
My brother was in third grade when I started school, so I had someone to walk with me. I'm sure my mother made him stay with me, as I doubt it was cool to admit you had a younger sibling, much less a sister.
Our sister, Anna, made her own first day journey many years later. Anna's first day of school picture shows her with a red and white striped sailor outfit (I guess it's a trend in our family) and a backpack at least as big as she was. Inside were school supplies and lunch money, now up to $1.
The photo shows her standing in front of the school's sign. She has one hand on her hip and a "oh mother" look on her face. I know the look because, as a teenager, she shows it often now.
Fast forward 10 years. Now, it's Isaac's turn. Isaac is my nephew and he started kindergarten at Monrovia Elementary School last week. This is real school – no more mother's day out or whatever we told him was school. This is parents are asked not to come into the school for the first month, drop him off at the front of the building school.
Isaac's mom, Ieleen, said the first day of school went fine, though she said she teared up as she took him to school. I guess it's hard seeing your little man walk into such a big building, especially when you're not allowed to go with him. Luckily, a coach walked up and escorted Isaac into the building.
He made it through the first day.
The second day was more of a challenge.
"He woke up and went outside to swing just like he always does," Ieleen said. "I had to call him back in for breakfast and to get dressed. He got upset when he realized life wasn't about just getting up and doing whatever you want anymore."
Knowing Ieleen as I do, I'm sure she took lots of pictures of Isaac on his first day of school. And though I haven't seen them, I can imagine what they look like. He's probably wearing his Hawaiian shorts, a t-shirt and his white shell necklace he hasn't taken off since returning from a Florida vacation. He probably has a backpack and inside it are a treasure trove of new school supplies. And somewhere, probably tucked inside a special pocket, is his lunch money. I hear that's up to $1.50.

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