Beyond Back to School

back-to-schoolThe first day of school used to be important in our house, and my husband and I have the photo album to prove it. Our photo documentation began in 1997 when our son started kindergarten. He posed on our front steps, dressed in new back-to-school clothes and a big-boy smile, with his backpack full of school supplies. We took a photo the next year on his first day of first grade, on the front steps once again. (This time his preschooler sister made it into the shot as she was watching from the doorway behind him.) With these two photos the tradition was set. We only missed one year in the next 13.

My husband and I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s when color film and processing were expensive. Nobody took our picture on the first day of school. So we thought we were being quite clever with our photographic record of our children’s annual first-day pursuits. Eventually we put all the first-day-of-school photos into one album, so we could see the year-to-year changes as our children grew up.

Back to school no longer means much to my husband and me. With an empty nest, we don’t pay attention to back-to-school sales on pencils and markers and folders and so on. But we still turn to our back-to-school photos and enjoy our first-day memories.

Laura Sternweis

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