Friday, December 18, 2009

Old School


This came to mind while I was conversing with someone about what the term “Book Bag” means. Back when I was in grammar school, Catholic Grammar School for that matter, each child went out and got a new book bag at the beginning of every school year.

These book bags were heavy leather satchels. They never were made from synthetic materials. They smelled like a shoe store. They had a handle but never a shoulder strap. Inside the bag there were usually a couple dividers. After getting all our books for the year our book bags would bulge from the content. The books were often pretty heavy for the pre-teen and I swear that one of my arms are longer today because of it considering I had a one mile walk to school each day. Setting the book bag down when got to your class was a great relief.

I wonder if kids today have any sort of the same relationship with their back-packs they use today. One would think you should have some sort of attachment to something that resides on ones back like a parasite.

By the time I got into the eighth grade many of us cooler kids graduated to a square brief case, but it was rare that a brief case would last an entire year. The old book bag could sometimes last two years, but they did wear out. Straps would break, handles would break; however they were tough bags and could take a lot of punishment.

It was sad to see an old friend end up in the trash, but that sentiment was quickly forgotten when the new book bag smell hit me. I had a new friend and it was time to move forward.

7 Comments:

Blogger Auntie said...

my daughter is very territorial over her backpack. She is proud of the fact that she has had it for the last 2 1/2 years of school, that all of her friends have signed over the years and that is can (barely) carry all of her stuff. I think it is hideous, it bulges out everywhere and it is grotty and grungey. Thus, she likes it more.

We weighed it one day and it weighed 24 pounds with all of her stuff.

Yours must have weighed more though because instead of regular books you had stone tablets, right?

6:54 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

I think I carried a backpack every single day from the time I was about ten to the time I turned thirty. Of course, I have been through several of them in that time. Now I carry a lunchbox with a shoulder strap to work but I still have a backpack here by my desk in case I go somewhere on a non-work day. You just can't have too much stuff with you in case something happens. It's an affliction.

8:06 AM  
OpenID themookoojoe said...

Makes me sad to know that I missed the days of book-bags. I grew up with back-packs. I never liked throwing the thing across one shoulder, and slinging it over to the other side. I was kinda' small throughout elementary school, and kids would unzip my pack from behind, spill its contents, and laugh. Still to this day I'm not comfortable wearing a back-pack.

I now take a rucksack everywhere, with the strap on one shoulder. I can easily access it, keep an eye on it, and its the coolest bag ever.

9:00 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Auntie, Slate tablets.

Darev, are you sure that isn't a European Shoulder Bag?

Joe, The book bag may have just been a Catholic School thing. I don't remember the public school kids haveing book bags, nor do I remember them having books.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Jaggy said...

I own five backpacks and one purse (yes, just one, and I hate it). I carried a backpack every single day to school and college, usually in excess of 20lbs. That was in addition to at least one (sometimes three) musical instruments. My backpack was an extension of my personality, a third arm at times, a lunchbox and blanket, a toolbox and seat-dryer-offer. It went EVERYWHERE with me.

I currently carry a TimBuk2 messenger bag in black ballistic nylon. It's super functional, waterproof, easy to get into, durable, cleans quickly, carries a TON, and looks professional at the same time. Plus, USA-made, fair-trade, eco-greeny-crap and all that. :)

9:20 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

I grew up in the fifties, and had a book bag like that. The most disgusting part of it was cleaning it out at the end of the year. For some reason I would always find a rotten orange or apple mashed down at the bottom. No telling how long it had been there.

5:29 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Jaggy, Unless I have my laptop with me, everything else now has to fit in a pocket.

Alan, Too funny! There was always some wild stuff squirreled away in my bag. Mostly unidentifiable. The stuff you could shake out was OK, but the stuff you have to scrape out is another story.

7:33 PM  

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