Memories of Back to School

Memories of Back to School

Posted on August 26 by Michael Januska
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I remember when back to school meant new pants, usually brown corduroys and a pair of Sears Toughskins. They were as sexy as oven mits and made of a denim weave as forgiving as tarpaulin. I think that was the idea; if you could only afford one pair of jeans a year, then these were the ones for you. And that was regardless of how many inches one grew between the months of August and June.

I carried my books under my arm. The cool kids carried their books in milk bags, the kind you get when you by a trio of litre bags from the corner store. I don’t know why, but I sort of envied those kids. The dumbest things become status symbols. At our house we always bought our milk in cartons. Someone, not me, could have made carrying a bundle of Hilroy notebooks home in a rancid milk carton look cool.

Years later, grade 8, I think, I graduated from carrying my books in my arms to carrying them in an Adidas gym bag. This was the new back-to-school item. By now, the Adidas gym bag had become de rigeur. This was 1978. I guess the books got bigger and that’s what must have tipped the scales. Or maybe my dad thought it made me look more athletic. Anyway, the ensemble was a melody in blue, brown and orange.

Back to school is of course the pre-season to picture day. Picture day can turn into either the Facebook pic that one is proud to share with the rest of the world years later, or the picture of the dog wearing a cone around its neck after a trip to the vet’s.

My birthday is at the end of August. It always meant back to school.

Michael Januska

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 30, 2014
Michael Januska photo

Michael Januska

Michael Januska has worked with books his whole life, both as a bookseller and for several publishing companies. Stories from Januska’s Prohibition-era Border City Blues novels have won two consecutive Scene of the Crime short story prizes. He is also the author of Grey Cup Century. He lives in Toronto.