"School Replaces Another Summer"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, September 5, 2014

Whew, it’s over! The last, big weekend of summer just passed. Kids are back in school K through college.

There were a few days of frantic shopping, rushing from store to store to purchase clothes, shoes, school supplies and complete the list of “must haves.” Families with college-bound students are scraping together extra funds and scrounging through secondhand stores. Tuition and room and board never cover all the cost. Books and supplies are needed and as students move into small dorm rooms there is a long list of miniature needs.

A small refrigerator, tiny TV, plus bed supplies, perhaps including those needed to build a loft. Of great importance is a small microwave and big supply of Ramen noodles. Many kids survive on that non-nutritional staple.

Of course, a new computer is on the list of electronics right behind the new cell phone. The one with everything on it except the professors’ cheat sheets. If you get the right phone, you can have your phone number installed permanently. If you can’t obtain this feature, you will probably have to wait for the kid’s funds to run low or their card to max out before you get a call. I recently saw a helpful feature. If you call and they don’t answer, you can push a button and the phone will be disabled until your call is returned. Bet there’s a run on that model.

Many new students are not allowed to have a car on campus. I’m not sure if that rule is because there is a lack of parking areas or because parents need to save up a few bucks to purchase an extra car. There is also a need to save up for the gas card or coax your student to get a job. If your school-bound kids are beyond kindergarten, expect lots of new expenses to meet.

For example; peewee basketball, the game your kids insist you must attend to see who will score the point. Be sure as you shop for basketball shoes (boys or girls or both); you pick up a good bleacher cushion. You will need it and appreciate it later.

You’ll have a few weeks to scrape up enough to purchase the sports uniforms along with shirts and jackets for the parents to wear. Don’t forget the bumper stickers to announce your pride in being a team sponsor. You will be eager to help with the many fund-raisers which are, of course, directed at family members.

Grandparents are ready to help. They have extra money now that the trips to Mickey D’s, the candy store and ice cream shop have leveled off with the kids in school. They may have exhausted their supply of Girl Scout cookies so they are ready for whatever edible item is being peddled. They are easy to reach by phone because they answer it. There was no need to purchase that new style cell phone for them that I mentioned earlier. They always love hearing from you.

As the school year moves along, apples for the teacher will be an item to stock up. Remember each student has many instructors so it may be less expensive to plant a tree in the backyard especially if there is more than one student in the family.

Mom, your time has come. You get a well-deserved break just as soon as the lunches are prepared, the washer is loaded and the breakfast dishes are done. After you drop the kids off at the bus stop or school you can return knowing there are a few hours to relax. Pour a cup of coffee (the health reports say it’s OK to do so). Pick up the grocery store flyer and start your shopping list. Hopefully, there are enough funds to cover food for the week — at today’s prices it may be tight. Maybe you should skip that extra coffee!

Everyone who is on the road during this time needs to be very aware and watch out for the kids crossing streets. Be ready to stop when you come upon a school bus or TAT bus. I understand some schools use them to carry the students.

As I see it, things will slow down for some but really ramp up for others. Tourist businesses will reduce their hours and athletic fields will be groomed, ready for the events coming up.

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