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Heat doesn't keep families from back-to-school shopping

August 15, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

karenh@herald-mail.com

Summer's hot rays still soaked the pavement Sunday, but for children shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies, the season's last days are near.

Oppressive heat and humidity couldn't keep Alea Burger from the first of her appointed rounds - The Centre at Hagerstown for a new book bag, binders and glue sticks for her son, 6-year-old Kaleb.

Like some other children, Kaleb said he isn't looking forward to the fall - "'cause school is so boring," he said. He carried a Yu-Gi-Oh book bag on his back as he and his mother carted bags of new supplies toward their vehicle.

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For many children, like Kaleb, an incoming first-grader at Fountaindale Elementary School, summer's sandals and beach bags will soon give way to new, unscuffed shoes and backpacks. Classes in Washington County Public Schools start Aug. 24.

Folders and blue bookbags jutted out of shopping bags as Tammy Frey, of Hagerstown, rolled her cart toward her car at The Centre at Hagerstown.

Frey doesn't have children, but there are still plenty of people on her list - the Shiloh United Methodist Church youth group leader has helped buy supplies to fill 15 book bags for children in the area.

"Right now at my house, I have 80 of the spiral notebooks, I have 28 bottles of glues. I don't know how many ... 350 No. 2 pencils ..." Frey said, rattling off some of the supplies the Little Disciples youth group plans to donate to children at five area schools.

The group has collected supplies for less-fortunate children for about five years, Frey said.

Heather Bridges' boys, Cadyn, 8, and Roan, 6, nodded when asked whether they like school.

They do ... sort of.

"Well, mostly recess," Roan said.

Bridges said the boys normally start each new school year off with new shoes and new clothes.

"It's a tradition in our family. We've always done it. We always get new outfits, things like that. It makes going back to school more exciting ... even on a hot day like this," Bridges said as the boys enjoyed ice cream on a bench outside Prime Outlets at Hagerstown.

Denise Wolf and her daughter, Jaclyn, 13, and a friend, Mary Heath, 14, all of Cumberland, Md., chilled out with drinks in the food court, their new purchases heaped in a bag on the table.

Jaclyn said she had been shopping for jeans, shoes and shirts. Her limit?

"Mom's credit card," Jaclyn said.

Wolf said so far, her daughter had spent just $25. She planned to hold Jaclyn to $100 in purchases.

Even though Jaclyn doesn't really need new clothes, Wolf said the girls were still looking.

Jaclyn and Mary said they enjoy school and are looking forward to going back.

For some families, the transition might be hardest on the adults.

Burger choked up as she talked in the summer heat with her son, Kaleb.

"I'll be crying, he'll be smiling and waving, I'll be crying - at the bus stop," she said.

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