Contracting Fall-itis. It’s the Pencil’s Fault.

I need someone to tell me what it is about pencils and pens and protractors and spiral notebooks and cute little locker magnets, and glue sticks and lunch boxes, and text books–especially Algebra–and new jeans, and cute shirts, and binders, and haircuts, and folders with cats or cars or pop-stars on them, or anything plaid, that makes my heart sing.

I mean, it's August. And it's a batrillion degrees out. Especially this year when the heat has been relentless across the country and there's been no rain and our state has had so much summer construction that the state bird has been changed to the Orange Construction Cone. Also, we've hosted so many wildfires that the moon is perma-orange and I feel a bit like a s'more. How in the world can I get Fall-itis?

Y'all know what Fall-itis is, right? It's that thing where you catch a Back-To-School ad, or see a cardigan in the Old Navy window, or realize that sour apples are just starting to come on and it's time to can applesauce–and all of a sudden your brain thinks it's late September/early October. And you feel the shiver of a new school year and the need to buy P.E. shorts and wear plaid with wellies because the weather is chilling up. And you start cooking soups and stews and thinking about this season's new boots, and maybe start planning that Halloween party where you're finally going to try the Martha Stewart broken glass cupcake-thing (and if you're in our family and slightly mental, you'll sneak in a bit of Christmas music. Because we LOVE that whole month's-long lead-up to Christmas, where you make your list and check it twice and start ordering presents on the internet and thinking about the cool new cookies and cheese you're going to buy from Costco.)

How is it that a yellow number 2 pencil can bring all of that rushing through one's cerebral cortex?

Well, my cerebral cortex, anyway.

It's that whole childhood-memory-thing. I took my kids shopping the other day because school starts tomorrow, and as they were trying on jeans and shirts and sneaking over to See's Chocolates for a free sample and one for later, I started reviewing their school supply list. I got to the pencils and wuhBAM! My entire childhood laid out in front of me in a glittering swath of autumn-leaf-glazed back-to-schools. I mean, I could smell the little woody scent wafting from my new box of pencils, hear my feet swishing through newly fallen but not quite crispy Maryland leaves, and feel that little glow of happiness as I gazed down at my penny loafer-ed feet peeking out beneath my desk to the accompaniment of a new plaid skirt.

Crazy how that happens. Crazy how palpable it is. And now I don't care how much of August is left, summer is over for me. And by extension, my kids. I am putting on the little sweater even if it's 95 degrees out. We're back in school. I've got applesauce to make (or my variation: Fruiple sauce. Apples all smooshed up with peaches, raspberries, blueberries, cinnamon, and clove), wellies to dig out, oven stew to bake, and kid-Christmas lists to corral. If you're lucky, you might even see an autumn wreath gracing my door and hear strains of Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire floating from my windows. Thank you, Mr. Graphite #2! My neighbors all appreciate you.

I had a plaid skirt just like this one in elementary school. Except mine wasn't Black Watch tartan. And I didn't wear combat boots and knee socks. And I didn't have one of those cool sporrans in which to keep my spare change and a meat pie. Plus, I wasn't a dude who had his head cut off in a photo because the blogette forgot to ask if she could post his pic on her blog. Hope he doesn't recognize his shins.

About Janiel 433 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.

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