Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Season of the Cigar Box Smell

Reams of paper, books, new leather shoes, a box of crayons. The air is teeming with back-to-school smells right now. Walk into any big box store, drug store, convenience store, or office supply establishment, and all those fine, scholarly odors whack you right upside the head. Such memories!

Oh, the possibilities! (Yeah, those possibilities were usually dead by the mid-October, but still.) Just deciding which 3-ring binder to buy was a major kid-decision. I remember having a great zippered binder that was a laminated map of the world (very useful that year). So much to choose from: How many dividers? 16- or 24-count Crayolas? Paste from the school store or Woolworth's? Pencil box or vinyl case that hooked into a notebook?

And don't get me started on making the all-important school shoes and raincoat/windbreaker decisions! I repeat: Oh! The possibilities.
But the most evocative back-to-school smell has to be a fresh, clean cigar box. Sturdy and compact, a cigar box was the perfect container for school supplies. Seems like it was something that only Daddy could bring home (who knows where daddies got 'em?), and seems like the box was always King Edward brand. Ah, the smell! I don't like the smell of a cigar being smoked, but the smell of the cigar box is just heavenly. And so, well, school-y smelling.

I miss back-to-school shopping, but it's so much more complicated and expensive today. And, shoot, probably politically incorrect to keep one's school supplies in a cigar box. But back in the day, back when school didn't start until the day after Labor Day, we'd turn up in our neat school clothes with King Edward cigar boxes packed with pencils, erasers, crayons, paste, and scissors, all ready for some book-larnin'.

I think I'm going to stop by a smoke shop to see if I can get a free King Edward cigar box. For my "school" supplies, doncha' know.

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