Every year on the first day of school, we had a ritual. After dinner, we'd head over to County Discount with our lists of required school supplies. Everyone did. So over the piles of Trapper Keeper folders and pencils and marble notebooks, you'd see friends and neighbors and that new girl from class you hadn't gotten to know yet.
Brother and I were each responsible for making sure we had all the things on our respective lists. Mom would help us find things, and wrestle through the crowd of other kids and parents, but we had to read the lists and check things off as we found them. And we had to carry everything, which could be a challenge.
I can still remember the sense of victory when I found the perfect lunchbox, and the stress of finding enough folders with pictures I liked to cover all my needs. I remember wondering, when County Discount went out of business, where I would get my school supplies in the future. (CVS) I remember the satisfaction of coming home with all my new things and setting them up just right, wondering what the year would bring.