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Published August 4, 2020


First day of school is a lot different for kids this year

By John Toth / The Bulletin

It will be a little different going back to school this year.

With Covid-19 lurking among us, parents have to make some difficult decisions, and school districts have to make sure that students are absolutely safe from the virus if they physically open classrooms.

The virus has changed everything. And this is in addition to security measures in school changing everything.

I long for the days when all we had to worry about was paying for school supplies and new clothes for the first day of school.

Times like when my daughter announced that she had been invited by a friend to go back-to-school shopping at the Galleria in Houston and would need some cash or one of my credit cards. That was a shocker, but not totally unexpected. My little girl was growing up and wanted to be part of the crowd.

Whatever happened to going to the local mall and picking out a few things with mom? And, sometimes with dad - those trips were shorter. It didn’t take long before the Brazos Mall became their hangout and shopping spot, though. The Galleria lost its shine quickly.

Ironically, that same little girl ended up managing one of the stores at Brazos Mall while attending college and probably saved a lot of teenage girls a long trip to Houston by making them realize that most products at both places were the same, but our mall was a lot more convenient and friendlier.

Whatever happened to going into the kids’ classrooms on the first day of school and embarrassing them with a video camera as they waved and tried to pretend that we were not really their parents? We were, though; I have video proof.

They grew up and rushed out of the house in their brand new clothes after I fixed breakfast tacos for them and their friends because I knew that eating a good breakfast was the last thing on their minds on the first day of school.

Then they grew up some more and flew away, but the memories remain. Those were simpler, more innocent times. We didn’t worry about parents on campus who just wanted to record their child’s first day. I don’t think I could get in one of those classrooms now with a couple of cameras hanging from my neck. And, those cameras back then weren’t little. It took more than a little effort to maneuver around a classroom crowded with kids.

Those days bring back fond memories. The not-so-fond ones have been placed in a draft folder.
I appreciate the freedoms our school-aged children had then, which children have lost over the years. This includes excursions such as sneaking out to Taco Bell and then calling dad for a ride home.

Schools have become fortresses of sorts. Compared to today, we had it easy as parents, and our parents had it even easier because rap music and cellphones had not been introduced yet.

It was a lot of fun sending our kids off to school by going with them at first and then just waving at them as they got older as they ran out of the house with breakfast tacos.

When summer was over, the house was quiet again until 3:30 in the afternoon, or so. It was a nice change from three months of summer family fun.

Things are different today and will be even more different this year. To many students, it will be just another day at home in front of a computer. To others, it will be an unusual first day in school with social distancing.

Things have changed - a lot.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)