1. Pokemon cards
Picking the right sealed package of cards was super important. I would hold the packages close to me, trying to get a sense of which ones had “shiny” or “holographic cards” – the cards that got other kids jealous that you had them. I remember I made an awesome trade for a Charzard only to have the kid send his mother over to undue the trade. What a wimp.
2. Looking at all the Baskin Robins flavors
I remember how important it was to be held up and pressed against the glass windows to look at all the flavors. I always got the same flavor though — Rainbow Sherbert — but I liked to see all the colors and make my dad read me all the names. I think I just like being read to, which is no fun now that I can read on my own.
3. Title cards for Rugrats episodes
I would be sitting at the edge of my parents’ bed and the Rugrats opening would come on and I would scream for my dad to stop whatever he was doing and read me the title of the episode, only to forget what it was and ask him several times. It was really important to my understanding of the episode.
4. Line leader/ first in line for lunch
It’s simple elementary school logic – you’re the boss.
6. Roller backpacks
Still scarred for life about this – but it was really important to have a cool roller backpack in fifth grade (which logic is thrown out in middle school, and frowned upon). I wanted this one from The Gap that came with cool clear colored wheels in super annoying shiny metallic and neon colors. Instead, my parents bought me airport luggage. It was awful, but the handle was higher, thus, better for my back and arms when wheeling it around. I was a tall 5th grader.
7. Clothes from The GAP
I don’t know why I wasn’t allowed to shop at KidsGap but I remember only buying one pink dress and one black dress from The GAP. I was always jealous of my friends who got to wear clothes from The GAP. I, instead, wore clothes from KidsRUs – the clothing division of ToysRUs. It was awful.
8. Sitting in between clothing racks
Shopping with your parents is boring, but the worlds you create from inside the clothing racks of Macy’s are super exciting, and important. Now it’s just inappropriate.
9. Spelling tests
I was terrified of spelling tests, but mostly embarrassed about the peer grading afterward. I would get so stressed about getting everything perfect or being judged by my neighbor that I would study myself into a hysterical mess. It got so bad that my mom would just let me miss them and go to the movies with her instead. Fridays were awesome.
10. The Winter Recital
I really wanted to play violin in the winter recital. I practiced every day during lunch. Only a few select kids were chosen to be in orchestra in 3rd grade and an even smaller amount for violin. Due to a new teacher’s error, I missed the recital that I had dreamed about for months. My parents had even taken off work for it. Let’s just say that teacher is still telling her friends over wine about her first year at my elementary school and my mother’s wrath.
11. The Halloween Fair
The entire school is turned into a Halloween Carnival. To me, the two most important things at the fair were: One, wining the halloween costume contest, 2: winning goldfish to take home. I never fucking won the costume contest in any category – but my neighbor, who didn’t even go to my school, won one year. She was in a princess in a really cool costume that you had to order out of a catalog. I was devastated. I was also not very good at the game that let you win goldfish, but my sister won one year and we had a pet fish named Spooky. Obviously.
12. Pencil cases/ folders
Everyone had a pencil case that was left at their desk at school. You could decorate it however you wanted. I wanted mine to be the best. Lots of alien and kitten stickers were involved. And maybe pipe cleaners. Also, I will never forget the hours agonizing over my Lisa Frank folder options on the floor of Sav-On with my mother, debating which was more “me.” The cute Sea Otters in love jumping over a rainbow of stars usually won.
13. Butterfly clips
Some older girl at school would sell them on the playground, which I think was super illegal, but we bought so much random stuff from her that she probably got at the 99 cent store. A true entrepreneur.
Couldn’t do them then, can’t do them now. When Bring It On was a huge deal, I was never invited to be apart of the fake cheerleading groups that formed at school. I wasn’t a flexible child.
My mother was super into New Age stuff, and we would go to conferences, and mystic book shops all the time. I bought a book for teenage witches that caught on like crazy with the girls at school. I still to this day remember how to write my name in Wiccan, and I am pretty sure there are still amulets buried in my parent’s backyard.
First time I danced with a boy and loved it. I’ll never forget the guy I danced with who loved South Park as much as me. I hope he is well. I also remember winning best Polka. Everyone cared about winning at least one dance because you got chocolate and a trophy. I also loved getting dressed up and wearing white little gloves.
17. Glitter crayons
Glitter crayons were super waxy and made a very distinct sound when they made contact with the paper that I just LOVED. I loved the extra flair a glitter crayon added to my book reports, drawings, and greeting cards.