This is the time of year when I get a little misty at the grocery store.

Yes, school supplies are slowly making their way to store shelves, and I really miss having the kids around. Without them, I wouldn’t even know what to buy. And it’s not only school supplies: It’s music. It’s clothes. It’s the whole youth scene.

The real question seems to be: Can you really be cool without kids in school?

For instance, without kids at home I’m completely out of the loop where the Top 20 is concerned. I used to always know the latest songs and could even belt out a few of the lyrics now and then – the ones I understood, that is, or the ones that didn’t turn my face beet red when I repeated them. But when I looked at the Billboard’s Hot 100, I realized I simply didn’t know what was going on.

I noticed a new artist all over the list, one Pop Smoke; a quick internet search explained why. It seems the rapper from Brooklyn was killed in a home invasion in Los Angeles last February, and a posthumous album of his work titled “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” was recently released with 15 songs.

In two titles on the list, food is the main ingredient: “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles and “Blueberry Faygo” by Lil Mosey. (It turns out that Faygo is a Detroit soda – who knew?) Several songs sport one-word titles like “Savages,” “Rockstar,” “Intentions,” “Roses” and “Circles.”

Occasionally, an artist revives a Golden Oldie. With nothing else to do while in COVID-19 quarantine, Billie Joe Armstrong of the group Green Day revisited “I Think We’re Alone Now,” originally recorded by Tommy James and the Shondells in 1967.

“While we’ve all been in quarantine. I’ve been reflecting on the things that matter the most in my life: family, friends and of course music,” Armstrong wrote. “I figure if we have to spend this time in isolation at least we can be alone together.” Hence the remake.

I also find myself unenlightened as to the latest “hip” terminology. Now that’s a perfect case in point: I can’t even tell you if “hip” is still “hip,” or if “cool” is still “cool.” Remember when “bad” was really “good?” Is that still the case? And does “cool” still mean “hot” and vice versa? With our kids around, I could always depend on one of them to correct me with the timeless, “Mom, you are so out of it.”

And just when I was getting used to the “three sizes too big pants,” jeans are now skinnier with rips and tears throughout. And I’m left scratching my head with tucking in just the front of one’s shirt. My favorite, polyester double-knit could come back into vogue and I’d never know it. What’s a person to do?

And we’re back to my original question: Can you really be cool without kids in school?

I just don’t know. I can watch TV or look at a magazine to find out “what’s in,” but it isn’t the same as having a juvenile in your house. I seemed to be much more “with it” when our two were still at home.

If only the grandkids lived closer…

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