In A “Back-To-School” Memory Daze — Announcing “Little Red Bear’s Back To School” Coloring Pages!

Happy Back To School time!

Shareable new materials have been in rather short supply here for a spell while I stepped aside to attend to some pressing personal health (non-COVID related) issues. In the interim though, I have nevertheless been working on background items and new features to be revealed in the near future, so please do stay tuned, as they say.

We will talk about some of those issues that kept me away along with some other things in a coming post soon.  But for now, although while still not fully back in the writing saddle quite yet, with it being “Back To School” time and my favorite season of Autumn on the horizon, let’s get it all rolling again with one of those new features I mentioned, shall we?


Now at age 71, “Back to School” in my day many years ago was special. It was almost a season in itself.  An abbreviated period as compared with the traditional four seasons, no doubt, but with the exception of the still-hot and humid readings on the thermometer each afternoon, “Summer” had officially been declared “over with” by my Mother, and school preparation activities dominated each day.

There were new school clothes to shop for, along with new shoes and required gym outfits to acquire. (I missed the memo when they stopped calling it “Gym” and began referring to it as “P.E.”, short for “Physical Education.”  I simply kept calling it “gym class”, but digress.) In addition to clothing items, there were notebooks, pens, and Number 2 pencils to stock up on, along with erasers, scissors, crayons, rulers, Elmer’s School Glue, and who knows what else.

And not to leave out the mandatory end-of-summer haircut, of course. My best friend Rick lived down the hill in a corner lot about two houses down in the back. Rick, the oldest, came from a family of five kids consisting of four boys and one severely outnumbered sister. The night before school restarted each year, we would watch Rick and the other kids all line up in the backyard as their mother gave one after another the annual Start of School Haircut. Then in for a bath and off to bed for an early rise in the morning.

We had strict dress codes back in the day, even in the public schools I attended. Girls were required to wear a dress or skirt, the shortest of which could reach no higher than mid-knee. Tee shirts, sweatshirts, and sweat pants were not allowed for anyone. For boys, all shirts had to have collars and buttons. Hair on boys was not allowed to touch the shirt collar. Socks were mandatory and gym-type shoes were only allowed in Gym class. At the same time, no soled shoes were allowed anywhere near the pristine wooden gym flooring.

All pants were required to have belt loops and be held at the waist by a belt. Failure to wear a belt resulted in being sent to “The Office” for a visit and attitude adjustment session with the Assistant Principal, or as we kids mockingly referred to him as — the “Enforcer In Chief.” After a stern lecture about how flaunting the rules and not wearing a belt could negatively impact the remainder of a ten-year-old’s life, the beltless boy would be given a length of rope to wear around the waist for the remainder of the day, a clearly visible (and embarrassing) signal and dire warning to every other boy not to forget a belt in the morning rush out the door.

And of course, one could not hide the fact they had forgotten to wear a belt that day, because all shirttails had to be tucked in. The belt omission was clearly obvious to anyone paying attention. A rather trivial issue it seemed to me at the time, although all the teachers seemed inordinately obsessed with it, in my opinion.

Personally, I was never apprehended without a belt, neither wanting to risk a visit with the Enforcer In Chief nor suffer the embarrassment of wearing a long rope around my waist. Always careful to obey the rules and do my best to stay out of trouble back then, I do admit to having contemplated the possibility of wearing overalls one day to challenge the belt rule but lacked the courage to act upon the urge, not having yet transitioned into the independently-minded “Rule-Challenger-For-The-Fun-Of-It” I became later in life and remain today.


Getting back to it then, our Back to School feelings were always kind of a mixed bag. The excitement of seeing school friends we had lost contact with over the summer was mixed with the uncertainty of what new teachers might be like. Everyone seemed to have an ingredient to add to the simmering pot of New Teacher Trepidation —

  • “I hear Mr. Townsend is a real beast with math homework and has never given anyone an ‘A’ grade. He assigns homework every night. And every weekend!”
  • “Miss Burns always makes the girls in her English class get down on their knees at the start of every class to make sure their skirts touch the floor.” 
  • “Mr. Grimharsh had a friend of mine in gym class who would not stop chewing bubblegum last year, so after telling him twice to get rid of it made him spit out the gum and then stuck it in his hair. Johnny Jones had to go to the barber and get a crewcut after school. A crewcut!”
  • “Miss Hendricks only accepts writing assignments and homework in blue ink. She will give you an “F” if your paper is written in pencil because she wants to see all the changes you make and not be able to erase them. Always remember to take a blue ink pen with you to her class.”
  • “Mr. Miller told the kids in his Science class last year that the word ‘Fire’ begins and ends with an ‘F’. If you set anything on fire in his class it will end in an ‘F’ grade for the quarter. And if you break something you have to pay for it! My weekly allowance won’t cover the cost of a microscope!”
  • “Why do I have to choose between French and Spanish this year? Miss Burns told me last year it was clearly evident that I hadn’t mastered the English language yet. And now they expect me to learn a second language, too?!?”
  • Mr. Newchance lets you take any History test you fail over again, but the best grade you can get then is a “C”, even if you get everything correct.”
  • “My Dad said that if I have over a ‘B’ average at Thanksgiving that he would buy me a new electric guitar for Christmas. But I can’t even spell Triggernumery, much less do it! I am going to start saving up for a new set of strings for my old guitar, just in case.”

On and on the gossip and info-dumps went over the last few weeks leading up to the start of school each fall. Of course, in my time, school always restarted with a half-day on the day after Labor Day each year. Never in early or mid-August as so many do now. And it goes without saying that nobody went to a school with air-conditioning in those days, and school was never called off due to excessive heat.

For us boys sitting in school with long pants on after spending the summer in shorts and swim trunks, we were just hot, plain and simple. Desk papers stuck to our forearms from the sweat running down our arms, and wasps buzzed around our heads, having flown in thru open windows. One large and very loud fan in the front corner tried to cool the classroom but caused us to simply not be able to hear the teacher who no one was paying attention to in all the heat, anyway.

And don’t even get me started about the mile-and-a-quarter walk to and from school every morning and afternoon, regardless of the weather, — rain, snow, or shine. And yes, sure enough in our case, it truly was more or less uphill both ways because there was a big valley between home and school regardless of which way we were heading.


Looking back on it now, it is fair to say we had generally pleasant while at the same time somewhat queasy feelings about the whole “Back to School” thing each year. A goodly bit of eagerness and excitement over new school clothes and the prospect of reuniting with friends was more than tempered by a healthy dose of general apprehension and miserably hot 90-degree temperatures lasting thru mid-to-late-September in our neck of the woods. It is probably fair to say that in my circle of friends, anyway, when it came to the “Back-To-School” thing each year, we could generally take it or leave it. In our minds, there were still too many perfect days on the calendar for baseball and bike riding to waste them all shopping and trying on endless changes of clothes in a hot department store.

But, in the end, mixed feelings or not, we always seemed to find our way back on the first day of school each autumn, didn’t we?  Maybe we were a little more excited about the whole “Back-to-School” thing than we were willing to admit or let on in public, after all.

What are your “Back to School” memories? Good? Bad? Or mixed, like ours? Please don’t be shy. Feel free to share them with us in the Comments Section.


To help ease the annual End-of-Summer and Back-To-School transition for older kids and build excitement about the new experience for younger ones, my story friend Little Red Bear has assembled a collection of Back-to-School-themed coloring images with varying degrees of complexity for all ages.

Coloring images are available for unlimited Free downloads simply by ‘Right Clicking’ on an image, choosing ‘Save Image As’ in the dropdown menu to save a local copy on your computer or device, and then printing out as many as you want.

It is our hope that these pages, made possible thru the kind assistance and support of our Patreon Community, provide a means for not only preparing and generating excitement for going back to school, but also for spending quality family time together — reading, coloring, and learning. Simply Tap Here to view them all and get started!


 “Thank You!” for visiting and spending part of your time with us! We always look forward to your visits and comments, because YOU are the reason we do it all.
My story friend Little Red Bear and I hope that you and any little ones heading off to school enjoy this post and Red’s new “Back-To-School” Coloring Pages. As always, please feel free to share and pass along to family and friends!
We have a great deal of new material and features to share with you over the coming months so please visit often. If not yet subscribed yet please register now to follow along and be notified of every coming new post and feature here.  — Jim  (and Red!)

Please consider joining our Patreon Community today to help us grow and keep freely-shared, family-friendly educational new materials and features coming, helping to make a positive difference in the world!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy “Wishing You Happiness, Peace, Joy — And A Very Good Day!” and Little Red Bear’s growing “Animal Alphabet Coloring Pages!”

(New Visitors — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” and “About the Blog, Jim & Little Red Bear” — and Sign Up Now to follow along and be notified of every new post!)


              “Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day. It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken.”  — Bill Dodds
 
       “Anyone who thinks the art of conversation is dead ought to tell a child to go to bed.”       — Robert Gallagher

Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Find out what readers have to say about Little Red Bear and His Friends!

(Royalties from the sale of Little Red Bear’s books go directly to supporting this site.)


“Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog.” — Doug Larson



“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.” — Lily Tomlin 


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“Let us remember: One Book, One Pen, One Child, and One Teacher can change the World.” — Malala Yousafzai

Christmas Peanuts & Linus’s Inspirational Message For Us All

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy Holiday Season to everyone!

Some writer friends and I are taking a few minutes this month, some to recall treasured holiday memories and traditions, and others to take a look back at the writing year soon coming to a close. I invite you to check out their thoughts later, listed at the end of this post.


For me, the morning of December 9th, 1965 found me one week away from my 16th birthday, approaching nearly not fast enough at the time, as you may well imagine — The Big 16!

That evening featured the debut of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on the CBS television network, based on my favorite comic strip “Peanuts” by creator Charles Schulz. The show remains a much-anticipated classic and delight each holiday season for millions of viewers to this day and an annual highlight of my family’s Christmastime.

I honestly do not believe that Charles Shulz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip, ever envisioned the impact this simply created little show would have over time. Nevertheless, over fifty years of continuous broadcasts and changing times have not diluted or diminished the show’s impactful messages.

While there are many discussion themes running thru the story, the most poignant for me has always been Linus’s speech on stage, responding to a frustrated Charlie Brown’s question of — “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!?”

At this time of year, trying to keep our wits about us while navigating thru and around all the hustle and bustle of crowded malls, traffic, grocery shopping, cookie exchanges, decorating, children’s school plays and activities, holiday parties, family pictures and greeting cards, boxes, packages, wrappings, and bows, all while trying to out-maneuver porch pirates from swiping online deliveries, do you ever find yourself wondering the same question — “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

Sometimes we simply need to pause, taking a moment to catch our breath, and reflect.


“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought,                doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”            — Dr. Seuss


As one of my sometimes forgetful uncles used to say years ago — “I don’t need to be told, but I do occasionally need to be reminded.”

In reply to his friend Charlie Brown, Linus took the stage to remind us all —

“Lights, please . . . .”


“And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid.

“And the angel said unto them — “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

“And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and goodwill toward men.”


And that is what Christmas is all about. For Charlie Brown. For Linus, Lucy, and Snoopy. For us all. The reason for the season, as they say.

Not to be found in a store, Christmas it turns out, does indeed mean a goodly bit more.



Linus is famously noted for carrying around his trusted security blanket with him wherever he goes. Held tightly fast and never let go lest panic ensues. Have you ever noticed that at the point when Linus repeats the words of the angel “Fear not!” that the blanket is suddenly on the floor beside him, confidently lain aside until he once again retrieves it at the end of the presentation?

There are subtle messages and lessons to be found in Linus’ simple action and demonstration of faith for us all this Christmas Season.


As Ebenezer Scrooge even came to realize in the end — “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year!”

Peace, Good Will, Kindness, Generosity, Charity, Compassion, Empathy, Love — none of these are or should be exclusive or seasonal things, as each of us should truly keep them in our hearts throughout the year.

The Christmas Season is an annual reminder of how we should be always, for everyone and all things in this miraculous and beautiful world we all share and call home. Sometimes we do not need to be told, but occasionally do need to be reminded.

Thru the inspiration of Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts”, Charlie Brown and Linus remind us of the real meaning of the Christmas Season each year.


Thank You for visiting with us! In a period when it seems so much and so many seek to divide us, perhaps the Christmas Season is a time when we can all set aside differences for a while, come together in the spirit of the season, and just perhaps, realize that in coming together, like Charlie Brown’s little Christmas tree, that those things are really not so divisive and bad, after all.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and Holiday Season!

A simple act of kindness or encouraging word can change someone’s entire life around. Will you do that for someone today?

In the Spirit of Christmas.  — Jim  (and Red!)  🤠 🐻


If you grew up with the Coca-Cola Santa image as I did as a baby boomer in the ’50s, you may also enjoy my piece on  → “Haddon Sundblom, Coca-Cola and Santa Claus” 

(New Visitors — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” and “About the Blog, Jim & Little Red Bear”

(Then sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


I invite you to please visit with my other writer friends to discover more about their writing year and holiday season thoughts!

Cat Michaels — “My Ups, Downs, and In-Betweens on the 2019 Writing Road”

Rebecca Lyndsey — “December Dreamin’ – Holiday Traditions that Ring in My Season”

Julie Gorges — “Baby Boomer Writer’s Ups, Downs & In-Betweens in 2019”

Rosie Russell — “My Ups, Downs, and In-Betweens on the 2019 Writing Road”

Julie Schooler — “3 Writing Wins and Lessons in 2019”

Sandra Bennett — “December Dreaming – 5 Ways Looking Back Can Help You Look Forward”


            “Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.” – Eric Sevareid

“Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.” – Helen Steiner Rice


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” – Washington Irving


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  Schools,  Classrooms, and Local Libraries,  and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy. 

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to cover site fees, registrations and operating costs while continuing this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone.

We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” – Dale Evans Rogers