September used to mean something. Now, it seems relegated to being just another month on the calendar.
September used to be the month when school started. In our region, school has been under way for nearly a month, longer in some places.
For us, it meant Mama had a month longer to look for bargains for back-to-school clothes. There would be bags or boxes that we would open up and get ready for the first day of school.
There was always a new pair of sneakers, usually PF Flyers. The vinyl trim around the bottom was super shiny and the canvas was fresh and new. Three weeks from now, they would look like they had been through a war zone and Mama would toss them in the washer.
Also in the haul were new jeans with double knees. They were deep blue and stiff, but I was ready to put them on for that first day.
In another bag was a new tablet for the early years. It was always the Blue Horse brand. You could save up a bunch of Blue Horse heads and get cool prizes, like a bike. I think you had to have about a thousand of them to get one and I never did.
I also miss those fat pencils. Schools used to smell like chalk and pencils. I was in a school recently and little girls were wearing something identified to me as Justin Bieber cologne. Oh my.
The Blue Horse thing was sort of like another saving venture, S&H Green Stamps. We had a drawer in the good china cabinet where we stored loose Green Stamps. I remember a picture of a car on the back cover of a Green Stamp catalog. I never knew anyone who had enough stamps to get a car. We did get a lamp once.
September was also the month of new TV programs. There was a premiere week on all three channels. That’s all we had. CBS, ABC and NBC would launch their new programs. We would pick up a copy of TV Guide for the start of the new season and plan our viewing to see the new offerings.
September also meant fresh new cartoons on Saturday morning. Occasionally, a new cartoon would be added to the lineup. Sure, the Road Runner was always going to outsmart Wyle E. Coyote and Bugs Bunny would drive either Daffy Duck or Elmer Fudd crazy, but there were new storylines and we couldn’t wait.
September was also new car month. I can remember when dealership would hide the new editions around back and cover them up, as if seeing them would be like giving out a government secret.
I remember a dealership that would cover the car in the showroom and reveal a wheel or a headlight as the debut week neared.
September remains the start of football season, but it seems like now folks start demanding the coach’s head on a platter before the month ends. Televised games were fewer and we relied on newspapers for our in-depth coverage. Now, folks at college games leave at halftime and watch the rest on a big screen TV at their tailgate.
I am not suggesting we go back, but I wish September had a little bit of that old magic of yesteryear. I think it gave kids and grown-ups something to get excited about.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.