Every year at the end of August when the days were getting cooler and a crisp chill hung in the evenings, a package would arrive at our house on Storch Road. It was addressed to my sisters and me and written with a black permanent marker that smelled like it had just been written. I remember following behind my mom as she took the large brown box from the UPS man, smiled, and then brought it into the living room and placed it on the floor.
Then there were anxious squeals because the tape could never be cut through or ripped off fast enough.
“Hurry, Hurry, Mom!”
And then, I held my breath as the brown flaps were pulled away revealing: school supplies. Heavenly, glorious school supplies!
Ah, the scent, and the sight, and the feel of them were like a piece of heaven in a box!
I still remember the sight. And even though I always got new school clothes that I’d gaze at as they hung expectantly on hangers in my closet, and even though I always got new school shoes that I wore out before that first day by clicking up and down the sidewalks watching my feet.
But the school supplies were the best of all!
The white lined paper wrapped in cellophane that I could peel off with a small tear. The unsharpened pencils that smelled like falling leaves and warm sweaters and clean desks. Shiny, smooth folders with animals on them, a new pencil box that clicked shut, a small metal box of colored pencils, and erasers shaped like puppies and kitties and horses.
And still, I find myself getting really, really, really excited over a trip to Office Max. The smell of the inside is like the smell of that box back in our living room on Storch Road. And then I walk the isle’s gazing at the supplies hanging off the metal pegs like treasures for the taking.
And sometimes I just want to take that smell home with me, and so I’ll buy myself some new white paper, pencils waiting to be sharpened, and a brand new pencil box that makes the perfect “click” sound when it’s shut.