When I was in the second grade, I had a blue pair of KangaROOS sneakers. (Remember those?) I thought they were the coolest thing in the world because they had this little side pocket that zipped up that I could put stuff in…very small stuff, but whatever. They were cool and that’s all I cared about. I still have a thing about pockets. I typically have my phone in one pocket, my keys in a different pocket, and my wallet in yet another pocket. Always prepared, and I wasn’t even a Boy Scout.
My school, lunch cost $1.25, so my mom would send me to school with one dollar and one quarter to buy my lunch with. Not long after I got my ROOS, I realized that if I laid the dollar out flat, put the quarter inside, and folded the dollar up around the quarter, I could put my lunch money inside the little zippered pocket on the side of my new shoes…so that’s what I did.
I was a little overweight when I was growing up. Oh, who am I kidding…I was fat! So my shoes…they were a little snug on my feet. When lunchtime rolled around and I reached down to get my lunch money out of my shoe, I could barely get my chubby fingers in the pocket, much less get the money out. I sat there struggling with it for a couple of minutes before my teacher came over to see why I hadn’t left for the lunchroom yet. This is how I remember that it was second grade. I loved my second grade teacher. Not in the “I have a boyhood crush on my teacher” kind of way (that was my third grade teacher), but because she was such a sweet person. She left during the school year to have surgery on her back, and I remember being scared that she was going to get paralyzed or die or something and not be able to come back to school. The anxiety of a second grader…
At any rate, my teacher came over and tried to help me get my lunch money out of my shoe. She couldn’t fit her fingers in the pocket either so she went to get a ruler to pry the money out. When that didn’t work, she used a pencil. After multiple failed attempts at rescuing my lunch money from the depths of my shoe pocket, one of us (probably my teacher) suggested that I just take my shoe off. Sometimes the simplest solutions are not the most obvious solutions. Once I took my shoe off, my lunch money fell out of the pocket quite easily.
I don’t recall if I ever actually used the pocket in my ROOS again after that, but I know I never put my lunch money in it again. I remembered this scene from my childhood this afternoon as I put a dollar and a quarter in the soda machine in our staff workroom. In second grade $1.25 bought lunch. Now, it buys me a 20 ounce bottle of soda.