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(Not So) Common Sense | Little nerds grow up to be big nerds

Back to school -  three words that used to make my heart sing. When I was a kid, going back to school was a big deal in my house. I'm not sure whether my siblings felt the same way, but to me it was everything.

Carole Townsend

See, I was the quintessential nerd. I loved school not for the social interaction (for me, that didn’t come along until I was in college), but for the academics. I loved classrooms and teachers, school supplies and homework. Libraries were a sanctuary for me. That may be hard for some people to believe, but to a nerd, it makes perfect sense. 

When my children came along, I brought that “back to school” juju to their little lives, or at least I did my best to do so. Without fail, we’d go to the annual “meet your teacher” day about a week before the school year began. Even before that though, I’d pick up the school’s published supply list at the local market, and we would go together to pick out new pencils, notebooks, pencil holders (told you – nerd) and such. And when we met their individual teachers, she would inevitably hand me another list, one that was completely different from the school’s published one. Back we’d go to the store, elbowing and kicking our way to the best supplies on the shelves. Everything had to be name-brand; generic simply wouldn’t do. 

In retrospect, I understand that my daughter’s love of the new school year revolved around purchasing a new wardrobe. I wish I had a dime for every time she told me she needed a new this or that, vowing that she had outgrown this or that “years ago.”  She really hasn’t grown much since early high school. I was gullible then, too. 

My son’s interest centered on a new football season, period. He liked school – they both did – but I can’t say they ever had that deep-down passion for school as I did. 

Now, I am seeing and hearing “Back to school” ads, and all I feel is a little sad. I miss it. Our entire lives used to be based on the Gwinnett County school calendar and now, I only know it’s time to go back to school because of radio ads. Funny how things change. 

I may have mentioned this a time or two, but we have a granddaughter. She is three years old, and she’s hungry to read and write. She loves the structure of a classroom of any type. She hangs on a teacher’s every word. My heart sings when she picks up a book and “reads” it word for word, reciting the story from memory. I love to see her try to write her own name and copy numbers. 

They say that certain traits skip a generation. I’m hoping that’s true for the Nerd gene because if so, it’s on.

Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. Her fourth book, BLOOD IN THE SOIL (Apr 2016, Skyhorse Publishing), was recently named the Finalist for 2017 Georgia Author of the Year in the Detective/Mystery genre. Her previous three books are written with Southern humor. Carole often appears on network television talk and news shows, as well as on national true crime radio shows. Her books can be found in bookstores, on, Barnes &, and at When she’s not writing, Carole travels throughout the southeast, talking to groups about women, writing, family, and life in her beloved South.