As a ten-year-old, a “Back to School Sale” excited me. It meant that school would soon be starting. I loved school. The first day of school meant a new dress, a pencil box with unsharpened pencils, a red square eraser, a six-inch ruler, possibly a compass for drawing circles, and a protractor for which I had no use, A new shiny lunch box, complete with thermos, was also a necessity in my view. I looked forward to Labor Day and the beginning of a new school year.
All these necessities would often be purchased at a store in the nearby small village in upstate New York, or if Mom thought it necessary, Dad took us to Binghamton with its Montgomery Ward, Sears Roebuck, and big department stores. For me shopping in the city was exciting. We would have lunch at Woolworth’s counter where the menu was displayed in bright pictures over the mirror facing the counter. This was a big deal. My dad was a very patient man. He had little to do with our shopping. Instead, he leaned against the outside of the building and waited for the packages that he would trundle back to the truck while Mom and I continued shopping.
Now with the big box stores, and huge shopping centers that begin advertising “Back to School” sales the week school closes for the summer, I doubt that the signs have the same effect. Although my five-year-old grandson asked his mother when they going to buy the list of supplies that he brought home on the last day of school in June, my older grandson groaned at the thought of returning to school the first week of summer vacation.
Now sales signs and Labor Day seem to harbor the coming winter. I don’t find either exciting.