This time of year always brings back memories of the inevitable return of classes, teachers, friends, books, team sports and other school events. Despite the nervousness I always felt as a child on the first day back, I still welcomed the anticipation of learning new things, making new friends and just that feeling of change in the air. To me the best time of year has always been that stretch between September and December, especially with all the holidays to look forward to and the blessedly cooler weather. The shorter days and longer hours of darkness made me feel cocooned and comforted. Back to School is also a huge industry, of course, with retailers almost treating it like a major holiday with urgent reminders to shop and save. Shopping for clothes, school supplies, especially new and decorative ring binders and notebooks, gave me a feeling of fresh hope for the academic year. Today much of the shopping involves high tech gadgets that kids can't be without; I was happy with a cool notebook and binder! And today, backpacks are a part of every student's uniform; I guess kids just carry more stuff now. What did we have growing up? At the most three or four books, a calculator, protractor and compass. And of course pencils with extra erasers since we didn't have laptops then. But then kids today have so much more to retain mentally than we ever did, everything from Apps to ZiBs. Good thing their bones and brains are flexible!