My son’s teacher handed him the list of school supplies and after three days of scouring Djibouti’s stores, I was still missing items. Transparent folders. Over-size green notebooks. Porte-de-vues: folders with plastic sheets for slipping homework into. In the heat and humidity, the plastic sheets melted and stuck and needed to be peeled apart.
“The porte-de-vues you bought don’t fit my papers,” Henry said. “And I need markers.”
“I gave you two boxes of markers,” I said. “Where are they?”
“I don’t know.”
“My teacher gave me a new list,” he said. The list was almost entirely different from the original.
Henry’s porte-de-vue was too small but a larger one couldn’t be found and he spent second grade cramming 10 x 14 papers into 9 x 12 slips of plastic. This didn’t bother him at all.
He was very bothered by that surprise item on his supply list, one thing I actually managed to find.
It was black.
It was petite.
It was a speedo.
“I am not wearing that,” he said.
At the end of the year I received the school supply list for third grade. Despite their mother’s failure in the area of supplies, both my twins passed.
Here are 11 strange school supplies.
What are some of the strangest items you have seen on a supply list?
Speedos Only 1 of 11
I never expected to find "speedo" on a school supply list.
Knives 2 of 11
An x-acto knife and a 5-knife carving set were on school supply lists for a family in Japan. Read Bring a Big Knife to School Thursdays about my kids' bringing knives to school in Kenya, though not on the actual supply list.
BCG Card 3 of 11
Copy of Tuberculosis vaccination and clear test results. This is on the list in Djibouti, the upper arm scar isn't proof enough.
image credit Keijo Knutas flicker
Mini Blackboard 4 of 11
Chalk and mini blackboard. Small blackboards are excellent for breaking over the heads of boys who call girls "carrots" ala Anne of Green Gables.
Socks 5 of 11
Toddler socks. I guess in case a kid forgets to wear socks and stinks up the classroom. Are these to be kept in the pencil bag or with the notebooks? Stuffed into a porte-de-vue?
image credit bark flicker
300 Kleenexes 6 of 11
Two boxes of 150 Kleenexes. Though I doubt a student would be kept out of class for bringing two boxes of 175, say, or 200.
image credit theimpuslivebuy flicker
White Slippers 7 of 11
White Slippers. Not green, not red, not toddler socks. White. Slippers.
image credit Julie flicker
Wool Underwear 8 of 11
Just kidding. Wool underwear was what I told a coworker because of my rusty French after a summer of English. It was supposed to be a Ball of Wool
image credit Tony Hisgett flicker
Queen Size Sheets 9 of 11
Queen-sized sheets. Um, will the class be building tents?
Passport Photo 10 of 11
Two identification photos, passport size. For the mid-year trip to Europe, perhaps.
Clown Costume 11 of 11