Parents love it. Parents hate it. Children love it. Children hate it. Yes, I am talking about going back to school. Oddly, I always remember returning to the classroom in tweed, with a cool breeze that morning. This is odd because I am sure it was sweltering in New Orleans at the end of August. Oh how the mind plays tricks. What I do remember for real was the certain smell of the school, being excited to see everyone again (wondering if they’d grown over the summer, as I was perpetually short); and I remember a great dread of PE.
I polled my friends and their children and it seems the #1 reaction to the start of a new school year comes from moms: “I hate making lunches.”
I feel my own mother must have had a similar reaction because she implemented a lunch making method that hinged on putting whatever I didn’t finish for dinner the night before in between two slices of bread. For example, I had a spaghetti and meatball sandwich, a pancake sandwich complete with syrup in between two slices of wheat bread, etc. The kicker was the last day of school. I can just see the glee on my mother’s face as she wrote the word “meat” on a piece of paper and then placed it in the middle of two mayonnaise sodden pieces of French bread. Yes, I was a hungry child, particularly around lunch time.
The upside for parents? They seem to love being back on a schedule “getting their lives back.” However that apparently comes at the price of having to get the kids up early and then helping them with their homework after school.
Children love the excitement of seeing their friends again. As put by Crickett, “Best thing about the new school year is seeing kids fly and scream as they run into their friends’ arms. It can be funny because they may have just seen each other just the week before, but they act like it has been years.”
Other reactions I received, “The best part about the end of summer? I know my favorite was shopping for new clothes.”
And of course, “Back to School?........ Cooties.”
We would like to profile our four legged partners in crime. They sit on our laps, at our feet and sometimes snore while we get together and brainstorm about our collections. The shop dogs of Peony are a spunky cuddly bunch. The one thing they all have in common? They LOVE kids.
Peony Dog #1: Oscar
Oscar is a true rags to riches story. Tossed on the streets of New Orleans, he was rescued and is now a spoiled rotten uptown puglet. He is a gorgeous, soft fawn pug. He is extremely photogenic, which is fortunate as his family loves to put him in Fedoras and mask him during mardi gras. It doesn’t matter who you are, he will lick your face. He loves long walks with bff Ellefair and sunbathing in the windows at Angelique Kids on Magazine street.
Peony Dog #2: Simon
Simon, or “Simone” as some of like to call him is a miniature brown poodle. He is a precocious five year old. He Came to the Lapeyres as a lovely chocolate, but now resembles a beignet with powdered sugar. Oscar’s greatest pleasure in life is cheese; he will drop all shoes if one says "cheese" or "fromage.” He gives a royal bow before his walks. He is very naughty. This royal pup loves the rope swing at play group and can do a lovey arabesque if scratched the right way. We call it his “Baryshnikov." Simon loves to stretch as he sleeps too. He also plays a complicated game of running from room to room over and over again.
Peony Dog #3: Gingersnap
Gingersnap is what we like to call a river mutt. She was found during a Wayne’s World tubing trip on the last day of summer 2006. This orange and white fox-like creature was swimming in the Boguechita River as a 4 month old. She had been living along the banks in true Lord of the Flies style. She loves to snuggle, but hates having her picture taken. She will run away the second someone pulls out a camera. We can only attribute this to her strange mysterious upbringing on the river banks. On walks, she loves to bark at any dog bigger than she is and shred people’s lawns with her back paws. Her greatest pleasure is peanut butter and disciplining Weezie.
Peony Dog #4: Weezie
Weezie is a twelve year old black pug. Her face is all white now, but the rest of her is svelte black fur. She is the love of my life. The soundtrack of my life is her snoring. She snores while she is awake. She is the most affectionate creature I have ever met. When it is dinner time, Weezie repeatedly runs in small circles very fast. I am pretty sure that she circles in the same direction that her little tail curls in. Coincidence? Probably not. Weezie loves licking people’s faces and hurrumphing down anything edible. She can’t see very well now, so rather than barking at other dogs, she barks at large targets like the UPS truck. She is the matron of this pack of motley hounds.
Peony Dog #5: Boxcar Willie
Boxcar Willie is the newest addition to the Peony Family. He is still a puppy, at just over a year of age. He loves to untie shoe strings and chase tennis balls. He is a rescue, still in recovery mode. We found him on a bike trail with a chain around his neck, two infected eyes and mange. We are happy to say he is almost fully recovered. His favorite activities include tormenting Weezie and Gingersnap and chasing his own tail. If we could capture his energy, there would be no need for oil, gas, or solar. We are always a little grateful when he curls up on the couch at night. He learned to sit on 15 minutes. Boxcar Willie just might be a genius.
“I am Eloise. I am six.” These are perhaps, STILL, my favorite opening lines. .. of anything.. EVER. I used to want to live at the plaza, and have an egg cup hat, and a pug. I used want to be her. Didn’t we all? And now I get to pretend to dress her, not that I don’t love her peter pan collar blouse, suspenders and pleated skirt… and…now I also have a pug.
Others that used to captivate me as a child? Madeline, so French and mysterious. Nancy Drew so brave. I used to imagine what Nancy Drew would be wearing as she climbed the attic stairs clutching her flashlight. These imaginings are what inspire me today. Appliqué skirts, capes, and ric-rac are swirling around in my brain these days.
The qualities of these young girls that were so appealing were their sense of bravery, fun and adventure. They always made the best of their situations and they always seemed to get others happily involved in their shenanigans. If I clothed them, what would I put them in? The clothes my grandmother used to sew for me. The clothes from the Lillian shop in New Orleans that my mother bought for me. What would these girls do in these clothes? Run, laugh, whisper, plot, dream, nap, jump rope, perhaps solve a mystery or two.
I recently read a book in which the south Louisiana heroine, inspired by an earlier heroine, would summon her courage by yelling “Nancy Drew” before she had to do something that scared her. So, from all of the petite heroines that inspire us, we, at Peony would like to shout a very enthusiastic “Nancy Drew!” as we begin this brave, fun, adventurous clothing line!