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There’s something about a brand-new notebook and freshly sharpened pencil that transports me back in time to back-to-school shopping and first days of new grades in elementary school.

Perhaps it’s the satisfying “snap” of the tiniest tip of lead as it breaks into powder on first contact with the paper. Maybe it’s the feeling of the painted wood against my fingers. Or, it could be the subtle scent of the paper as I flip through the clean, spiral-bound pages.

Most likely, it’s all the above.

When 10-year-old me went back-to-school shopping, she gravitated to the whimsical designs of Lisa Frank. My notebooks, pocket folders, pencil case and other school supplies were covered with Lisa Frank’s colorful puppies and gumball machines, dolphins and seals and horses and unicorns. I probably still have a partial sheet of Lisa Frank stickers tucked away in an old shoebox somewhere in my closet.

Shopping for these items almost made up for the impending end of summer break.

I still take advantage of back-to-school sales to stock up on office supplies. The first draft of this column was written in pencil on my new, teal-colored and glitter-bedazzled notebook. So what if I turn 31 this month? The blingy cover called out from the retail store shelf to my inner child.

I sometimes think about that child – my 10-year-old self – and what I would say to her if I really could travel back in time.

I suspect most people wish at some point in their lives they could go back and visit their younger selves, warn them of what lies ahead and implore them to do things differently. It’s not that I have regrets – just lessons I wish I’d learned sooner.

Lessons I’m still learning.

I also wonder what my 70-year-old self would say if she could visit me today. Perhaps it would be some of the same thing’s I’d tell 10-year-old me.

Perhaps I’ll pencil them in to my new notebook and see what I think about it in 40 years.

Contact the writer:; 570-348-9185; ext. 3492