Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lunch Boxes

September 1975, at River Glen Elementary School in San Jose. Start of the school year, and I'm in the second grade. My lunch box is Goober & The Ghost Chasers/Inch High Private Eye. One side of the lunch box was about a Scooby Doo imitation (teenagers, mystery-solving hijinks, wacky dog), and the other side was who knows what the fuck. I have no memory at all of Inch High Private Eye, other than it decorated one side of my lunch box. This is the only "hybrid" lunch box that I know of, in the history of lunch boxes.

So I'm there with the rest of the 7-year-olds, and we're checking each other out. And I don't remember who had it, but SOMEBODY had the LAND OF THE LOST lunch box. No way! I did not know there was a lunch box for that! My lunch box features a dog that looks stoned and wears a ski cap! And that's the GOOD side of the lunch box! The other kid's lunch box has a TYRANNOSAURUS REX on it!

Starting the following year, I went to K-Mart and got to choose my OWN lunch box. I chose the Six Million Dollar Man. But I still had to go the entire 2nd grade year with Goober & The Ghost Chasers/Inch High Private Eye.

Along with paste, crayons, lined paper, and number 2 pencils, your lunch box was a part of daily school life. You got to meditate daily on the images it featured, as you carried it to and from school and unlatched the lid at lunchtime. My lunch was a sandwich, either American cheese or peanut butter and jelly, possibly potato chips, a hostess snack cake (a Ho-Ho, mini-donuts, or a Chocodile), and a drink in the thermos - probably Kool-Aid or Hawaiian Punch. Mind you, this was after a breakfast of Fruity Pebbles, Cap'N Crunch, or Cookie Crisp

My last lunch box was Star Wars. Wherever I set it down, it was always with the "ships shooting each other" side facing out. I had decided right away that was cool side, as we did with every lunch box.

In sixth grade, I switched to the brown paper sack. Everyone did. Fifth grade was the official cutoff for lunch boxes. I didn't know this until I got to the fifth grade, and saw that ALL the sixth graders had paper sacks instead of lunch boxes. I wasn't able to gain this insight earlier because the "upper grade" area of the school was unofficially off limits to the "lower graders". There was no rule or barrier or gate, but it was just understood. For one, you'd be walking among giants, for another, it was said you could end up with your face in the tanbark.

Which lunch boxes did you have?

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