For our prompt of “School Supplies” today, my mind traveled way back in time to when I was a little kid and the very idea of getting fresh new supplies was the best thing in the world. Indeed, today as school starts in the middle of a pandemic, things have changed quite a lot. And my heart goes out to kids and teachers everywhere on this very exceptional year. As a kid, I was actually thrilled to go back to school because I really loved to learn new things. But, I was equally a little shy and nervous about meeting new people and all of the other new bits that came along with the experience. In grade school, it was a new teacher each year, so I was just hoping that we’d like each other. This was the case most of the time, but my first grade teacher was a horror show and I didn’t like her one bit. After that, my teachers not only improved, they were like rock stars. They were the coolest people on the planet to me. And, as I hugged my fresh new notebook, ready to till it with that year’s assignments, doodles and ideas, I feel that beautiful thrill that only comes from starting a grand new adventure.

There was always a little list of school supplies that were required for each grade. I was such a nerd for notebooks and pencils it was always like someone had taken the liberty to write a holiday wish list for me and then let me have everything early. One thing I remember, though, was that crayons and colored pencils were on the list when I was young and then disappeared as I got a little older. Pens and notebooks were the main thing, and later even calculators. It’s like it was okay to doodle and color when I was very young, but growing up just meant more math. I’ve never used anything beyond basic math in my life, but thankfully, I found those other classes. As I got older, these were called “electives,” which meant they were not essential. Art was never considered essential, yet I’ve used more of the problem solving I learned in art classes as I grew up than anything I ever learned in Algebra. For something considered “elective” that’s rather amazing.

These days, I don’t have a curriculum to follow, so I choose to take all elective classes. Indeed, even back then, I figured out a way around the system to take all of the classes in the arts that I could. Yes, they were all deemed non-essential, which still jumbles my brain a bit. Learning the skills to turn a blank sheet of paper into an idea or channel another person’s life on stage, is not something small. It’s everything really. It’s what makes us human and not just a computer database. Indeed, it’s these “fuzzy” skills that will make future generations valuable as computers become more advanced. Nobody really wants to find themselves competing with a robot, after all. Some of the issues with these classifications comes from the fact that those elective classes just seem too fun. One can’t possibly learn anything of real value when having a blast, right? That’s super wrong, of course! We learn the most while we’re having fun! It’s the kind of knowledge that becomes experience and sticks to our hearts, so our minds just have to concede to remember it. Also, I still remember my love of all of my wonderful teachers who helped make me the man I am today. And, I think they’d be happy to know that I’m still learning and creating and treating each day like that first day of school!

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Ultramarine (Green Shade), Terra Cotta, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Click here!
Kitten Wearing Backpack First Day Of School Supplies Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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29 thoughts on “That First Day Of School

  1. Wonderful Charlie! I tried to flash back to the little three room school house that I attended from kindergarten through 7th grade. I remember bits and pieces but not much about school supplies. Odd. I’m not sure if they just didn’t make an impression or if we just had pencils. 8th grade on there were back packs, notebooks and supplies. Too many years ago.

    1. Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Oh that’s a wonderful flashback indeed! Yeah, my school was already bursting with kids and rooms. So, I spent much of the time in a trailer, which, now that I think about it, is a bit like a one room schoolhouse! hehe

  2. It was my fourth grade teacher who was a horror! When my brother was in grade school, she actually carried an arrow with her that she used to poke the children with. Fortunately, the authorities took that away from her before I took her class, but she replaced it with a ninja sneak attack where she’d grab you by the back of the neck and shake you. If you saw her in a movie, you wouldn’t believe she was true!

  3. I LOVE school supplies! I remember buying the Big Chief paper tablet! Oooo, nothing like a brand new tablet. I loved how they smelled just like I still love how Crayolas smell. 😊 Charlie, I STILL love to buy school supplies every year. My dream is the jumbo box of Crayola crayons. I wouldn’t use them, but keep them on my shelf to admire (and smell). I still have my crayons from when I was a kid. (My parents spanked if I didn’t take care of my things.)
    I gotta ask: what made your first grade teacher a nightmare? My 4th grade teacher was hateful and my junior year math teacher was hateful and very mocking. Even my mom didn’t like her. The rest were great. 😀 Super cute painting. I love the backpack! So cute!

    1. I think you skipped me. It’s okay.😀 I didn’t write anything life changing. 😋😋😋 Have a wonderful pizza night and weekend!

      1. Oh wow! Sorry Marisela… your comment didn’t come through on the backend where I reply, so thanks for letting me know! Yay for Big Chief tablets and a jumbo box of Crayola crayons! I can still remember the smell of both of those things clearly! 😃💕hehe

  4. You mean you’ve never had to find the value for X as an adult? Or the degree of an angle of a triangle? What have you been up to all this time?

    I miss school supplies! So I bought a bunch of watercolor paper and a tube of deep scarlet. I’m ready for class.

  5. I love the beginning of the school year, just so I could pick out new notebooks, pens and pencils…It was the highlight of my year and then I loved doing it for my boys…I probably enjoyed it more than them..Again another fabulous painting with the wonderful expressive cat on some of my most favorite items..💜💙

    1. Hello Charlie,

      What an absolutely adorable Doodlewash! The kitten looks exactly like I always felt on the first day of school – nervous, excited, eager, already wishing it were the weekend (all at once). I adore his backpack. 🙂 I loved school supplies and though I was a loner, I liked school except for math class. You’re right – I have never had to use anything other than basic math so far so I often wonder what the fuss over algebra & geometry was all about. And almost all my math teachers were horrid and visited me in nightmares. That’s why, I nursed a dream of some day opening a school with no math classes and extra classes for storytime and art. I still nurture the dream though its fruition is nowhere on the horizon.


      1. Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 hehe… glad you liked the backpack. I made up one in colors I wish I’d had! And yeah, I didn’t enjoy math, but was weirdly good at it. I was meant to take Calculus my senior year of high school and dropped it to be on the school newspaper instead! hehe Philippe actually has a recurring nightmare about math class still! I highly the support the idea of a school filled with storytime and art. That would be the best school ever!! ❤️

    2. Thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕 Yeah, picking out new notebooks, pens and pencils was SO fun! When they put out the school supplies in stores it’s all I can do know to buy some. But I have art supplies now and each day feels like the first day of school! 😉

  6. Aww! That’s a funky backpack, too. Mine were never that colourful!

    It was a bit of a bummer having to go back after summer, but I did enjoy shopping for fresh supplies. My highlights were a Chewits pencil case and a wooden ruler with kings and queens of England listed on the back. Good for History! 😉 I loved first and middle school, but high school wasn’t as fun until, characteristically, the very end when I ‘came out of my shell’. I still occasionally have dreams of being plunged back into that atmosphere – ugh! But we got through it somehow!

    1. Yay! Glad you liked the backpack! 😃💕 hehe… it’s one I made up that I wish I had today. Yeah, I totally had to jump back to grade school. Middle school and high school had their fun bits, but lots more stress and definitely not an atmosphere I wanted to return to!

  7. Charlie, I swear if you weren’t a 6ft tall, blonde haired, blue eyed boy, a decade (if not two😉) younger, I’d swear we were separated at birth! I guess I remember a few things about school but mostly art and writing. I can tell you a good year from the-umm-others, by who my teachers were and if creativity reigned. Purely “academic” years are lost on me! I have always loved getting new supplies for back-to-school (since I was three and yes that was a year before I started Kindergarten!) I still do it! I do have to say I love that kitty with the backpack, however, I can feel that twinge of uncertainty heading off into the unknown of the first day of school. My new outfit and perfect coiffed ponytails never made me feel as good as the new supplies hidden in my school tote-I could do something with those☺😆

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