July 13, 2006

SCHOOL SUPPLY BOX


School supply boxes seem to be a forgotten source of nostalgia. I've rarely seen them for sale on the "secondary market," and yet practically every kid I knew got a new one each year. I imagine that's just the problem, by the end of the school year there wasn't much left of those little cardboard containers. Just as it was with lunchboxes, the art on school boxes inevitably got embedded in my psyche due to the frequent daily use. I remember designs like jungle safari, United States map, and my friend's vintage astronaut box. Oddly enough, I don't remember any licensed characters on these things. (Well, maybe a foggy memory of Snoopy.)

Anyway, the one pictured above is mine from fourth or fifth grade. To be honest, I was never crazy about the art on it. I chose it on my post-Star Wars "anything outer space" principle. But it's served me well by holding a batch of my childhood memorabilia for all these years.

One of my personal lost treasures was a school supply box that sported sky-themed artwork. The clouds had faces and I remember one of them wore black rimmed glasses. (I tried to draw those guys all the time.) Each side pictured different cartoonish flying machines.. planes, birds, hot air balloons, etc.

When I was in college I noticed a box with this very design locked behind glass in an old cabinet in my Biology lab. It was stored among the jars of animal corpses and formaldehyde so who knows what it housed inside. I almost approached the professor about seeing the box until I realized how odd my request would have seemed. Boy, would I love to see that thing again.

10 comments:

Todd Franklin said...

I've been on the look out for old school boxes for a long time and they're just not out there. I've never noticed one on ebay and I've only found one in a flea market.

Thanks to your post I just posted about the two I have on my blog.

The cloud one sounds familiar and I remember having a patriotic one, maybe for the bi-centennial

chuckbaris said...

When I was of the appropriate age to sport a school box they were usual not made of cardboard. I beleive I came in at the tailend of the school box age. I vagley remember some sort of cartoon type cardboard box when I was in kindergarden or first grade but mostly I remember the big red plastic one that I had for years. Someone finally figured out that you could make it of plastic and it might last longer. I had my big red school box with the giant snaps on the front to close it from sometime in early elementary school until I moved out of my parents house at 17. In fact I think they may still have it. It's been painted on and drawn on many times over by now, and it's probably still full of my old sophmore year colored pencils. Suddenly Im curious to call my mother and ask her if she still has it. Would she think me crazy?

strangebrew said...

school boxes rocked! the back to school shopping trip was almost as much fun as Christmas! (almost). i would get to pick a new school box and a new lunch box. and mom would even let me get the big box of crayons with the built in sharpener! most of those boxes were destroyed by the end of the year, probably why you can't find any today! (did anyone else use cigar boxes as a kid?) i remember getting a couple from by grandfather one school year.

AWG said...

It took old Kirk to jog the memory this time around --- wow!!! -- school boxes. What a great thing to talk about. I had several school boxes and I always wrote my name on it and my grade. I remember it being mostly red in color but can't quite recall the design. As for lunchboxes, I had a "Peanuts" one with them playing baseball and earlier, one of "The Waltons." Good memories!

Ellen said...

Kirk, I HAD this exact box! Holy cow. The memories.

I'm thinking that I had it in third grade, so you probably owned it in fifth grade.

Tyson said...

I had that same box in second grade. What a blast from the past!

Kirk D. said...

Happy to jar your memory AWG.

ellen- mine probably came from the exact same shelf in the exact same store.

tyson- ours probably came from completely different shelves in totally different stores.

Kim Carney said...

I remember those boxes. I wish I could remember what themes I had )

Kirk D. said...

I wish you could remember them and that you still had them and that you sent them to me for free. (since we're wishing for stuff..)

Anonymous said...

I remember a pink Sanrio pencil box I had for 5th and 6th grade. Full of carefully chosen Sanrio pencils and erasers. It had a wonderful smell. Some of the pencils and erasers were faintly perfumed and they all mixed to create a certain very comforting smell. That was a great class...Mrs. Glassfords "highly gifted" class in Eagle Rock Elem. in CA.