In the first week of childhood’s September,
going back to school was unreal,
when I discovered a new sense of smell:
I inhaled new uniform, shoes and plimsolls,
and the scent of sharpened pencils in satchels.
I breathed stale lost property masked with polish
from parquet floors of classrooms and the hall;
chalk-free blackboards and bare pastel walls;
blank exercise books and lined paper in reams,
waiting for fresh ink, essays and poems.
I sniffed pungent autumn in the air,
the promise of leaves and conkers everywhere,
the early creeping in of tea-time and gloam,
when cocoa and buttered crumpets steamed
on the kitchen table when we got home.
Kim M. Russell, 14th August 2018
Amaya reminds us that, in mid-August, American children are back at school – and the UK isn’t far behind at the beginning of September. She says every year when backpacked kids return to the sidewalks and yellow buses fill the streets, she can still hear the bells ringing down the crowded halls, smell pencil cases and reused textbook pages.
Amaya is interested in the images and senses that fill our minds when we think back to our school days; whether there is a particular lesson that still stands out today as the pinnacle of our primary education; whether we have a teacher who made all the difference; or any embarrassing or hilarious moments that we couldn’t forget even if we tried? She is asking for seemingly minor details associated with particular classmates or classrooms. She has also shared a poem by Shel Silverstein about playing hooky.