Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: School Lunch Boxes

My first lunchbox was Pete's Dragon
(This is not my actual lunchbox)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Back to school time is here, and that of course means shopping for school supplies. I can tell you something missing from the stores is the classic lunch box. Today's boxes are more like insulated bags, which are okay and serve the purpose, but for children of the 70's and 80's, nothing beats one of those old school metal lunchboxes.

My first lunch box in kindergarten was Pete's Dragon.  For those who don't know it was a cheesey Disney film from 1977.  It was a combination of animation and live action.  A year later when I started school, I did so with that metal box clutched in my hand.  Along with my sandwich and chips and Hostess snack, there would be juice or chocolate milk inside the Thermos.

Scooby Doo lunchbox
Each year meant a new batch of lunch boxes and each year it was based on more items from popular culture.  In second grade for example, I had a blue plastic Scooby Doo lunch box.  On one side was Scooby and Scrappy Doo at a haunted house, and on the other side was the Flintstones.  Third grade was when my love for the Smurfs started and I had the plastic lunch box to prove it.

Return of the Jedi lunchbox
By fifth grade, the last year of elementary school, Return of the Jedi was the big thing.  So I had a Jedi metal lunchbox.  The thing I loved about those metal lunch boxes was the fact that each side, top  to bottom had different artwork on it.  There were at least six different scenes from your favorite movie or TV show.  The other cool thing about these boxes is they reflected the times.  I remember my brother had a Dukes of Hazard lunch box one year.

As time went on, and we stopped carrying the metal lunch boxes, my dad made use of them.  He still has several of them holding different odds and ends from his tool chest in our basement.  Those old boxes took a lickin' too.  I remember throwing them around and banging the dents out of them.  Unfortunately, I wasn't as lucky with that plastic Scooby Doo box.  I remember the end of the school year I tossed it across the classroom to its usual spot in the back of the room and watching it bust into pieces.

Hulk Hogan lunchbox, brother!
So while I'll like the characters on my plastic lunch boxes, there's something to say about the durability of the old metal ones.  If it was socially acceptable, and they still made them, I'd carry a metal lunchbox to work today.  In fact, my wife bought me a Hulk Hogan plastic lunch box years ago at a yard sale and I did carry it to work for a while.  I guess you're never too old.

What did you carry your lunch in back in the day?

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