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Hartselle Enquirer
Jacob Hatcher

Back to school clothes 

Jacob Hatcher 

Community Columnist  

The dog days of summer are coming to an end. The sun’s setting a little earlier, football practices have started and my kids have absolutely had enough of each other.  

The start of a new school year is an interesting time. There’s always a little bit of excitement mixed with a little bit of anxiety. Like a family reunion, the kids run toward each other on that first day regaling one another with stories of beach trips, sleepovers and visits from the tooth fairy.  

The greatest tradition of all, though, is that trip the week before school starts to get new clothes.  

Like the opening sentence of a book or the first note of a long anticipated new album, the outfit on the first day of school feels like it sets the tone for the whole year. A chance to tell the whole world, or at least the whole class, who you are.  

Many years ago, I spent all summer looking forward to the day my Grandmother Hardwick would pick me up, take me to lunch and let me pick out a handful of brand new outfits. For that day, like a dog staring at a forbidden plate of food, I would long for the first day of school so I could don my new clothes. I remember one year I got a new long sleeved shirt that I loved, and was tortured by Mama’s requirement that I wait for cooler weather to wear it.  

Maybe I’m making too much of some fabric sewn together; maybe it’s not that deep. Maybe I’m a victim of years and years of advertising.  

It probably wasn’t even really about the clothes, looking back. Mostly, I think, it was about the fresh start of it all. A chance to define you were going to be and leave the old you behind, clothes and all. As the trees begin to strip away last spring’s leaves in preparation for new growth, kids all over get ready for what the next year will bring.