When we went school supply shopping with Mother it was never much fun. I remember one year, preparing for the new school year, that I longed for this special pencil called a Dixon Ticonderoga. They were shiny with yellow paint and a green rim. Yes, they cost a bit more but I knew they were well worth it. I would beg her just this one time could we please pay a bit more and buy for quality not quantity.
You guessed it. Mother’s response was a loud and resounding:
No! Put those back and get the cheap ones. You know I’m not made of money!
Reluctantly, I would put the lovely works of art back on the shelf. Instead, I had to use the cheapest pencils with bad, short-lived erasers. I always dreaded telling Mother that I needed more pencils once the erasers had worn out.
On the first day of school, I would look around to see how many lucky classmates had the Dixon Ticonderoga beauties. I was envious of the pencils and wondered how in the world they were able to talk their parents into buying them. I was pretty sure they did not have someone yelling at them to put them back. Thus began a lifelong love affair with school supplies.
When I became a teacher, as you might imagine, I had an abundant supply of bright and shiny Dixon Ticonderoga pencils on my desk. And, to this day, I still love the way that pencil feels in my hand as it glides across the paper.