|The School Box
By Lori L. Sikorski
The very first memory that I have of my schooling is that of a school box. Not the fancy plastic-coated ones that you find today, but the brick-colored cardboard box with a flip top. My mother and I had looked at this during the summer months when we would do our weekly shopping. Although I was in no big hurry to return to the classroom, I anticipated the day we would purchase this little gem and I could put my name on it with a permanent marker.
Two weeks before the school bells were to ring, we made our way down the supplies aisle. When I looked for my school box, in its familiar location on the shelf, my heart sank, for I saw only empty spaces.
"We can get something else," my mother said, thinking that my disappointment would be lifted with the sight of new crayons and paste.
How could I possibly be happy without that box? It had not only the alphabet scattered across it but also numbers and a small place on the inside where I would put my name in permanent marker.
The next weeks, I tried to be happy with the yellow box that was made to look like a school bus. I put my newly labeled pencils and crayons in it, but I did not feel the thrill that my original box had brought me.
A few days before school began, I heard my mother on the phone. She sounded very excited and thanked the voice at the other end. She called a taxi and told me to get my shoes on. This was not our regular shopping day, but I laced my sneakers and off we went.
When we got into the store, my mother went up to the service desk and whispered something to the lady behind the counter. The sales clerk disappeared to return with an object wrapped in a bag. My mother examined the contents, smiled and thanked the woman again and again. We then went to the cashier, paid and got into another taxi.
The morning of school, as I was about to gather up my supplies, there in the middle of the kitchen table lay the brick-colored school box. My name had already been printed in my mother's handwriting, in permanent marker no less. I will never forget the look on her face when I hugged her.
This year my youngest went in search of a school box. She had eyed one in July and mentioned it to me more than once. When we finally were in search of supplies, her box was not to be found. The disappointment on her six-year-old face made me remember my mother and the little school box I had longed for so many years ago.
It was not until the Saturday before school opened that we came across her box. Her expression was the same one that I had shared with my own mother. Together she and I printed her name on it - in permanent marker.