The Suitcase Lady


September 1, 2014, 11:43 pm

Starting with kindergarten, I’ve gone back to school almost every September of my life. I took a few years off to be home with our two young children. But when the youngest marched off to preschool, I went with him. He stayed three years, I stayed nineteen as the art teacher.

The pattern of the traditional September to May school calendar suits me perfectly. I like fresh new beginnings and definitive endings. And I need to be in tune with the seasons, something the elementary classrooms do well.

The children will be greeted with school bulletin boards sporting apples and autumn hued leaves. These will be followed by pumpkins, spiders and owls who will morph into turkeys come November. A flurry of snowflakes and snowmen round out the year. America’s stores, on the other hand, are decorated for Christmas in September. I decidedly prefer to live in the current season.

The start of a new school year is all about expectations. As I wander through store aisles filled with towering stacks of pristine notebooks, crayons, markers and paint boxes, my brain is conjuring up new art projects that will make those materials live up to their promise. Recycling curriculum has never been part of my agenda. Children are artists who look at the world with fresh eyes. I want to help them make their imaginations soar.

School is serious business. When I break open a fresh new pack of drawing paper and pass it out, I remind my students that a tree gave its life for those sheets. Full effort and concentration needs to go into every art project. We should strive to create masterpieces but not be crushed at our failures. “If you mess up, you fix up”, is an important lesson, too.

My wish for this fresh, new school year is that all our children can reach their fullest potentials and that all of our teachers find joy in their profession.

Here’s a quote for today, the first day of the school year:

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.


4 Comments for this entry

  • Susan Smith

    Hi Mary, Just completed reading your School blog. Truly it brought to mind days gone by. Mother & Grandmother were both teachers, and my first classroom experience was on the campus of North Texas State University. Mother enrolled me there while she finished studying for her Masters Degree. Art was always my subject of choice, and it followed me throughout my college years. Reading & writing followed close behind. One brother attended Rice University to achieve his Doctorate Degree, and has for many years enjoyed being an English Professor. He has had several books published, as well as lived for a time on a reservation helping to recover an Indian tribal language close to extinction. Teachers are truly gifted with the ability to inspire the minds of people, of all ages, with endless dreams and possibilities waiting for them to achieve. Educators answer to a higher calling, and should be revered. Thank you sincerely for returning me to precious memories gone by. Susan

  • Jo Peifer on Facebook

    Mary is live that you share your wisdom and insights with us all

  • Noreen Strehlow on Facebook

    Great quote at the end! Obviously, this is what keeps you young :)