Singing the back-to-school blues

Melanie Yingst - Contributing columnist

I have a confession to make.

I’m a school supply junkie.

Yes, I know Ohio kick-started the school season with a tax break this weekend, but I didn’t really want to root through bins of Bics among the masses.

We managed to find a free afternoon this week and got this chore done a few weeks ahead of schedule.

When you are a county fair mom, you don’t have much free time to spare. I also learned this a few years back that if one waits too long, all the cool Trapper Keepers are picked over the weekend before school begins.

Wait, does anyone else remember Trapper Keepers? The sound of the Velcro ripping through the hallways was magical. The false sense of security knowing that your precious papers would be locked in the plastic grips helped me sleep at night.

I’m also pretty sure all the students on “Saved By The Bell” had Trapper Keepers, so I too, needed one. They all went in a dunk tank at a school carnival in one episode, too, which I also did several years ago (and wish I could do again).

Evan’s seventh grade year is quickly approaching. To be honest, back-to-school shopping for a seventh grader isn’t as fun as it was when he was in elementary school. Gone are the days of the necessary glue bottles, pencil grips and fresh new crayons.

In their place are demands for 100 pencils. Yes. I said 100 pencils. For some reason, teachers are asking for these utensils in bulk seeing as tweens seem to lose their No. 2 Ticonderogas by the minute.

Maybe they’ve done the math that tweens can only keep hold of a pencil for 1.8 days throughout the school year.

So, I ponied up the cash for the 100 lead-filled pencils and just moved on.

I remember the days when school supply gold was the one large pen with every color ink option. It was clear so you could see the ink levels at your finger tips.

You guarded that pen with your life. Simply depress the color needed for the day and you were done. There wasn’t a need for multiple colors. It was all within that magical ink pen. Just click, click, click away and the colors would magically appear.


Also on the list are book covers. Yes, students still haul around textbooks in this new day and age.

Today, book covers are more like car seat slipcovers. Book covers today are soft, stretchy bed sheets to protect the reinforced cardboard spines.

I remember going into junior high with book covers made out of Marsh brown paper bags. They were great because you could doodle on them throughout the year. This alone kept me entertained in science class and homeroom.

But, I also never quite got the knack for folding or sizing the paper to create that snug fit other classmates seemed to enjoy all year long. My book-covers only lasted through Halloween and then I just chanced it that I wouldn’t damage the covers.

The struggle is real, folks.

It’s rare event that I patronize a big box store and buying school supplies is one of the very few reasons I bother walking through the doors.

After we crossed all the necessary supplies off the list, I found myself in the book aisle staring at all the new paperbacks that I would magically read once Evan goes back to school.

I managed to hold myself back from purchasing the latest “Summer Reads” but I quickly found Evan begging me to buy him the latest and final installment of the Harry Potter series. The book, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is the two-part play based on the J.K. Rowling series.

I am weak. I couldn’t say no to Evan wanting a book — a real book. I mean, what kid actually wanted to read something that isn’t embedded on a computer screen?

And that is how we managed to spend more than $100 for back-to-school supplies in one hour. OK, the Trapper Keeper is mine, but the rest was for my soon-to-be seventh grader.

And if someone can find that amazing pen with all the ink options inside, can you please pick one up for me? Thank you in advance.

Melanie Yingst

Contributing columnist

Is there anything better than a fresh 5-star notebook and a new set of colored pencils? Melanie Yingst doesn’t think so! Reach her at or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews.

Is there anything better than a fresh 5-star notebook and a new set of colored pencils? Melanie Yingst doesn’t think so! Reach her at or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews.