How awesome were lunch boxes!? They were an expression of yourself that you had to make in September and had to last you all the way through June. Your lunch box said something about YOU! I don't know the status of lunch boxes with today's kids. I know they don't have the real metal boxes that we had. Nowadays they are lame-o plastic or even lamer - the zippered tote style. Back in the day, we had metal and if we wanted to knock a friend upside his head with our lunch box and send him to the nurse's office, it was our prerogative! Now, strap yourself in for a riveting look at the lunch boxes that I carried to school everyday from 1978 to 1985.
My first lunch box I didn't have much of a say in. Probably because I was only 5 years old, but also because my mom bought it at a yard sale before I was born! I don't think at the time I was very fond of my "Disney on Parade" box. Since it was second hand, I didn't have the matching thermos. I had a glass American flag thermos. Why you would send a kindergartener to school with a glass thermos is beyond me. Looking back at it, it's a pretty cool lunch box and if I were selecting lunch boxes today it would probably be my selection. Isn't it funny how it all comes around!???
One of the drawbacks to having a birthday in August (like me) is that you often got school supplies as birthday gifts. Pencil boxes, notebooks, and backpacks are no substitute for games, Atari cartridges and action figures! So you can imagine how disappointed I was when I received this dumb lunch box for my 6th Birthday. Never a big fan of Cracker Jacks, I have no idea why my grandmother picked this up for me. But I was stuck with it! And to make matters worse, my mom instituted a "2-year" policy on lunch boxes! She didn't see the need to spend money on a new box every year, no matter what new lunch boxes were sitting on the shelves the next school year. No "The Black Hole" lunch box for me, I was sentenced to carry my Cracker Jack lunch box through 1st and 2nd grade.
So here I am in the 3rd grade, 8 years old, and I finally get to pick out a lunch box to call my own. Can you get any better than THE DUKES OF HAZZARD? Bob-howdy, my brother and I loved that show. In fact, my brother picked out the very same lunch box. There was more than one occasion when I would open up my lunch box at school to find his boring cheese sandwich inside instead of my Peanut Butter & Jelly. As much as I loved that box, I was still upset that I had to repeat it again for my 4th grade year. Still, you'd be hard pressed today to find a kids lunch box with the confederate flag on it. (Except maybe in the south!?!)
In 5th grade I took a chance and made the jump from metal to plastic with my Atari Lunch Box. It was a unique box that paid tribute to some of the greatest video games of all time. Most of the other boys that year had PAC-MAN lunch boxes, but I went the different route and I stand by my decision to this day! However, being an inferior plastic lunch box, it broke near the end of the school year. At last my opportunity to not have to repeat a lunch box for a second year!
Even though most of the other kids had abondoned lunch boxes by the 6th grade in favor of brown paper bags, I was proud to carry my lunch to school everyday in my brand spankin' new GREMLINS lunch box! As I've mentioned here before, I loved (love) GREMLINS. In 1984 I couldn't get my hands on enough GREMLINS stuff. After a summer of reading the GREMLINS novel, wearing my GREMLINS painters cap, and trading GREMLINS trading cards with the kids in the neighborhood...oh yeah, and seeing the movie too...I was so excited to get a GREMLINS lunch box, especially because it had my favorite scene from the movie depicted on the box: Gizmo driving the Barbie car. That is good stuff right there!
In summary, brown paper bags suck - lunch boxes rule!!!