As I was watching the 10 p.m. television newscast one night earlier this week a back-to-school commercial caught my attention. 

“Why in the world would am I watching a back-to-school commercial?” I thought to myself. “I haven’t had a kid in school for years.”

Then it hit me. The commercial got my attention right off the bat because it was advertising backpacks. I kinda smirked.

“Backpacks? Backpacks?” I thought in my best Jim Mora impersonation. “You’ve got to be kidding.”

There weren’t backpacks when I grew up. We didn’t even call them book bags. They were book satchels. I know they still make them. I looked it up online and found fancy satchels for many uses but a kid won’t be caught dead carrying one to school. It’s just not cool.

Those of you who are older remember the satchels. Bless those of you who aren’t old enough to remember the bags that were cheap mini briefcases with suitcase type clasp to keep them closed. You carried it by a handle and maybe, just maybe if your were lucky, it had a shoulder strap.

Most were made of cheap looking vinyl or maybe even a canvas material with outside pockets as well as dividers on the inside. The colors weren’t fancy but it was easy to find something gender aprpropriate. It’s something every kid just had to have for back-to-school along with a new pair of Keds or PF Flyers. For the days mom wanted you to look like somebody, Hush Puppies was the footwear choice.

The commercial I saw was not exactly from everyone’s back-to-school headquarters. It was an Academy Sports ad hawking the bags, shoes, shirts and clothes for the kids.

I smiled as I remembered back-to-school shopping when I was a kid. You had to go to try on the clothes and shoes, to pick out the satchel. It was the same thing with our daughter except, by then, it was book bags and the shoe of choice was Nike or whatever hot new product was on the market.

“Times have changed,” I thought as I shook my head in disbelief at what a sporting goods store had to offer for back to school. “But, not so much because every kid wants something new when returning to class to see old friends and make new ones.”

“What about Dick and Jane?” I thought. 


Now, those days are long gone. No longer do kids enjoy the exploits of the pair and the dog Spot. 

Well, even in 2013, a kid can’t have everything.

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