Back to School With a Trapper Keeper!

No, this isn’t a sponsored post. I’m just a school-supply nerd with vivid memories of my favorites!

One of the Mama Kat writing prompts this week involves sharing a Back to School memory. I have a lot of good memories, because I always loved school. One from my own childhood is pretty special, though. It’s a great example of how well my Mom knew me and how much she sacrificed for her kids.

Anybody remember the first year of the Trapper Keeper? I had to look it up, but it was 1978, so I would have been in the third grade. I think that was the year I got glasses and had my hair cut short. NOT a good look for me.

This was the original Trapper Keeper. There were commercials constantly as summer waned. A Trapper Keeper could hold all your folders securely, so you didn’t have to worry about leaving homework behind. And the folders (purchased separately, of course) could be organizer by color, would be secured by the three plastic rings into the Keeper, and were designed so papers could only be removed in one direction. With the Trapper Keeper’s velcro flap this ensured the safety of all that homework.

This was the Holy Grail of Back to School supplies. I practically drooled at the though of all that organization and security at the tips of my bitten nails. But I never asked for it. I knew we didn’t have much money – but neither did most of the kids at my little country elementary school. And there was always my brother. He was three that year, but I think the first words he ever spoke were, “I want”. So I just kept my mouth shut. If I got crayons and pencils and notebooks for school he’d insist on having the same thing and more.

But Mom knew, somehow, how much I wanted it, and the Trapper Keeper and “sold separately” folders went in the cart. I was a proud kid walking into school that first day, and I think that binder lasted two years!

Want to hear the weird thing? They still sell them!

This is what I’d buy today. Purple with a touch of gold. And I’d decorate it with the symbol of “the artist formerly known as Prince”. And believe it or not this sucker is still over priced! Ten dollars for a plastic binder at Target. And the folders are still sold separately. Thanks, Mom!!


I Want Your Books!

OK, when Mama Kat suggests we post about “books” I know she’s talking to me. The hardest part of this post was deciding on the name. “I Like Big Books And I Cannot Lie” was a serious contender, but I couldn’t get Eddie Murphy’s Donkey Voice out of my brain. So we’re going with a song from my decade, the eighties.  Decade of the best movies and the best music. First you have to watch the video (I earned some awesome SwagBucks for searching this, BTW!

OK, I don’t care about your gender or sexual orientation – this is just sexy as hell. As has been said of Tim Curry in Rocky Horror, “If you don’t think that’s hot you have issues!”
Next step: Replace “sex” with “books” or “reading” in all the lyrics.

“Not everybody does it, but everybody should.”

Damn skippy! Everyone should read. One thing I liked about life before e-books was that you could visit someone’s home and learn a lot about them by the books on their shelves. It’s considered rude to ask to browse someone else’s Kindle or Nook, sadly.

But there are still red flags, even for those young enough to have gone digital with most of their library. One should never use a lovely Barrister’s bookcase for this *insert dripping contempt*:

There’s a special barefoot, no-pedicure area in the afterlife for people who do this.

Another is when you’re making small talk with someone you’re fairly sure has nothing in common with you and you pull your final card. “What do you enjoy reading?” If they say, “Oh, I can’t even remember the last time I read a book!” or worse, “Oh,” laughing, “I don’t read!” I’m done. I’ll text my husband where to find me and lock myself in the spare bathroom to lie on the bathmat, towel for a pillow, and pull up the Kindle app on my phone.

I’ve probably offended everyone who doesn’t read already (or they don’t read blogs to begin with because all the new hair and makeup stuff is on YouTube) but just in case you’re still with me here’s a tidbit of advice: Lie. Do not tell anyone that you don’t read books but have never missed an episode of The Bachelor or Real Housewives of Pittsburg.

Get creative: Come up with a writer’s name they’ll never remember, laugh and say it’s actually a nom de plume for (other fake name) and he/she only writes biographies of second-generation immigrant poets. Or look embarrassed and say you’ve been so busy with the triplets, your volunteer work, and raising chickens for those fabulous organic eggs that it’s hard for you to even keep up with your professional journals. You’re only a month behind on the Journal of Pediatric Neuroscience, but you’re at least two months behind on all the others. Play it right and you’ll never have to talk to that person again. Unless it’s me. ‘Cause I’d make a beeline for you next time and immediately ask about the triplets and the chickens. Just sayin’.


Extra Tidbit: I laughed hysterically listening to this song when I found it, because even if I watched the video a thousand times there’s only ONE visual it will ever bring to mind for me.  It was the summer before I was a Senior in college (or a weekend during my Senior year – hard to say) and I was working as a Nurse Tech in the Coronary Intensive Care Unit. We had very strict visiting hours back then, so there weren’t family members just wandering about gawking. A nurse named KT was giving a comatose patient a bath. It could have been any hour of the day or night since they worked the techs 7a-7p, 7p-7a, 3a-3p, and 3p-3a. And they switched it every two weeks, just to show us what to look forward to after graduation.

Anyway, somebody out at the station had a boom box (ancient piece of technology that was as large and heavy as possible and played cassette tapes). George Michael was on, and “I Want Your Sex” started. She yelled, “Turn it up!” and threw open the curtain. She was an adorable little curvy brunette, and had killer dance moves. She shook everything she had, swung towels and wash clothes above her head, and twerked before Miley Cyrus was ever a glint in her daddy’s eye! She also sang at the top of her lungs. Yes, every single patient was fully sedated, I assure you. We laughed, applauded, cried, and rolled on the floor. By the end of the song the gentleman was squeaky-clean with fresh bed linens, and the only sad part was he wasn’t awake to enjoy the show. That’s one medical bill he’d have paid with a smile on his face!


Beach Dreams

A nine-line post. My mother used to say I was vaccinated with a phonograph needle and that’s why I talked so much. Let’s see what I can do with nine lines as per the Mama Kat prompt.

Beach dreams that leave me smiling

Muscles tired ’cause I like to swim out far

Sun on my face and a glow through my eyelids

The sting on my shoulders from sun, not pain

Sand everywhere, but I don’t care

Sweatshirts over swimsuits for walks at night

Waking up before dawn so as not to miss a minute

Toddlers fascinated by foam

Helping strangers build sand castles

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Anything worth doing can be done in jammies!