It’s the 1st September, and the start of a new school year beckons. Last month, when I went through some old family photo albums, I came across this picture, taken on my first ever day of school, in September 1978:
On their first day of school, German children receive one of these cone-shaped receptacles made of cardboard, called a “Schultüte”. And guess what’s in it? Sweets! (‘Candy’ if you’re North American) Why else would I be clutching it so tightly?!
However, my Schultüte harboured a dark, rustling secret (which explains why I’m not smiling): My parents stuffed it to three quarters with old newspaper. Precious caramels, chocolates and other mortal enemies of tooth enamel occupied only the top layer. They told me that the Schultüte would break if it were completely filled up with sweets. It’s the first conscious memory I have of my parents lying to me. It may have been for my own good, but they seriously plummeted in my esteem on that day.
There was another traumatic revelation that would hit me a few months later: I had assumed that I would get a Schultüte at the beginning of every new school year. But that turned out to be just wishful thinking on my part… it’s very much a once in a lifetime affair.
Do you have any special items or rituals that take place on the first day of school in your country or region?
[To view the rest of the 70’s Flashbacks series (including the fabled ‘naked pictures’ post), click here.]