As fall signals the end of the growing season, it also marks the beginning of another school year. That brings back fond memories of shopping for clothes, shoes, and school supplies (Hello Trapper Keeper!). Here are a few of our CVG team’s favorite back-to-school traditions.

Summer’s drawing to a close, so parents, teachers, and students are kicking off a new school year. We asked a few staff members to share their favorite back-to-school memories.

Scented Stickers and Trapper Keepers – Denna Grangaard

“My most memorable back-to-school tradition was picking out the coolest 1980’s Trapper Keeper each year, then filling the inside with the summer’s favorite scratch-n-sniff stickers.”

Clothes Shopping and Weekend Trips – Martha Annis

“My favorite tradition as a child was going school shopping! I was number 6 of 7 children in our family. My sister and I were the last of the bunch and always had clothes from our sisters and cousins. Back-to-school meant we got to go shopping and pick out a new outfit and get a new pair of shoes! Our mom would drive us into Milwaukee and take us to a mall. It was a big deal, and afterward, if we didn’t drive her nuts, she’d take us to the new McDonald’s for lunch. (I’m really dating myself!)

Our favorite family tradition was to take our kids up to Copper Harbor for a long weekend in August. We called it a family re-boot because our summers were busy with activities and kids working. We always had to stop at the same park for a picnic on Lake Superior and visit the same bakery and shops. We would hike, swim, and just enjoy time together. We never had a rainy weekend on all those trips! We all feel a special connection to the area and love the fact that the cell reception is terrible. That was our time to really just enjoy being together.”

School Supplies and New Shoes – Joleen Alexander

“Life was simpler back then, and I always loved that first day of school. There were no supply lists – you were just sent with basic supplies. A couple of pencils, a notebook, a ruler, and a box of new crayons. I always tried to convince my mom that I needed the Crayola 64-pack because it had a sharpener in the back of the box. 😜

The first day of elementary school was really exciting because that was when you found out who your teacher would be. The teachers would come out to the playground and read the list of students in their class. You would line up in front of her or him and follow the teacher inside to your new classroom.

To get ready for the new school year, I always got a couple of new dresses and new shoes. Getting new shoes was a big deal and really exciting for a little girl. We went to Miller’s Shoe Store in North St. Paul, Minnesota. The salesman would measure your foot. Then, he would go to the storeroom and pick out five or six pairs of shoes for you to try on. Getting to try on the shoes and model them for your mom was so fun. 

I have always loved going to school. I loved it so much that I became a teacher. I am so honored that, for 32 years, I was able to make the first day of school special and fun for many, many kindergarteners!”

Eleven Pictures and One Rock – Jessi Kelly

“I always make the kids stand in the same spot for a picture on the first day of school. Here is their first first day together and last first day together.

2012 – Addison in kindergarten and Ben in 2nd grade

2022 – Addison a sophomore and Ben a senior”


Okay. *sniff* That last one got us. 

If you’re a parent, teacher, or student yourself, we hope you have a great first day of school! (And if you’re not… we still hope you have a great day, too.)

For more autumnal inspiration, check out What to Do With Your Fall Fruits and Veggies, The Magnificent History of Chrysanthemums, and Nine Gardening To-Dos for September.

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