My Best Handwriting

The dog days of summer were upon us and I was wilting outside but very excited inside. My little school schedule wasn’t the same as a full-time college student and going to school this way was going to take a lot longer, but I could handle it and handle it well. The last thing I wanted to do was mess up. I knew this year that I could be confident about my writing skills. That would help with finishing homework on time and at least as well as most other students. My children are used to seeing me sit at the dinette with them to work on homework. I liked being nearby to help with spelling and easy arithmetic problems. Stevie Junior had some more difficult subjects this year and Daisy was a real school girl now, possibly with homework. We spent a good deal of time yesterday picking out new lunch boxes. By the middle of the year, the thermos in them will already have been replaced, since they all seem to shatter easily after a couple of months of use and a couple harder than average falls. I gave the children my usual song and dance about the fact that just because the cans were made of metal, the thermos lining would not be spared when the lunch pail is used for schoolyard warfare.

I confess to having my own sad love affair with school supplies. My own mother sewed a pencil bag for me to take to school in 1st grade. It was denim with a cool string-pull that was easy to operate and large enough to fit my own collection of different size number 2’s. My teacher thought it was so terrific, she asked my mother to sew one for every child in my class. I remember my mother spent many nights sewing the bags and I even helped pull through the shoelaces that kept them shut. The only problem I encountered was that every kid in my class had the same pencil holder. The teacher used a marker to write every person’s name on each so we could tell the difference.

I spent a morning in the school bookstore buying the necessary textbooks for my classes that were now available. While I was there, I thumbed through lots of other textbooks in subjects that seemed very foreign now but might seem doable later. I found beautiful new notebooks and pens that felt right for my fingers. I am pretty good at not getting ink from my cartridge pen all over the page when making notes and I think it improves my handwriting. Just like in cooking, the right equipment makes life more enjoyable. I felt like such a weird school student but I really enjoyed it. Maybe it wasn’t so bad that it would take me so long to get an education. When I returned home, Junior didn’t seem too excited about my school books but that it is to be expected. Daisy asked me if I was going to have to learn new spelling words. She even offered to help me by making flash cards. She likes school now and I hope it stays that way. I really want her to go to college, right after high school.

For dinner, I made a delicious casserole. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time cooking and just heating up something seemed to make more sense. I used my usual chicken pot pie recipe but placed it in a long casserole pan. The new part was the addition of tater tots to the top. I placed them one by one in long rows to cover the entire surface and then baked everything until golden brown. I haven’t really used tater tots very much in cooking but everyone loved them. I will have to think of new ways to adapt some other recipes to update them also. At least I had one more easy recipe to add to my box. With the school season starting up, I needed all the help I could get!


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