What we miss about grade school: Trapper Keepers, Lisa Frank and more

Before a life of meetings, there were card games on the field trip bus using string cheese instead of poker chips. Before office politics, there were posters for drama club officer elections. And before desk-induced back pain, there was getting pooped on by a bird on track-and-field day.

(American-Statesman file photo)
(American-Statesman file photo)

The average American spends about 13-15 years in school (not counting college, of course). Once you’ve settled into an adult routine, your past life of wide-ruled paper and Crayolas can seem so distant that it might as well have happened to someone else.

RELATED: Ready for back to school? Do these 10 things before school starts

But that’s what nostalgia is for. As kids head back to class next week, we asked some of Team 360 to sound off about what they miss most about school.

Sharon Chapman, features editor

  • Trapper Keepers
  • A new pair of school shoes, since I wore a uniform – it was the only thing I got to pick out every year
  • A new lunchbox (my mom always packed my lunch, although I longed to buy the school lunch, especially on tater tot day)
  • The excitement of going back to school, before the homework kicked in

Omar Gallaga, technology columnist

  • Rectangular cafeteria pizza
  • Writing dirty words upside down on your calculator
  • Busting out new shoes you bought and had to keep in the box for two months until school started

READ: Got your school supplies? Now get to labeling

Chloe Gonzalez, bridge desk editor

  • Stretchy textbook covers

Jake Harris, social content producer

  • Drawing that “S” thing with the six lines all connected together
  • Kickball and tetherball at recess
  • Field trips
  • Story time in the library

Pam LeBlanc, fitness columnist

  • My Gomer Pyle lunch box. With a glass thermos.
  • Ringing a bell in the cafeteria (at Wooldridge Elementary) to tell everyone in the cafeteria to quiet down while each class sang a prayer before lunch. In public schools. In Austin. (Yes, it was 1969.)
  • A streetlight that hung on the wall in the cafeteria at Doss Elementary School. When it was green we could talk all we wanted. Yellow meant whisper. Red meant no talking.
(Rodolfo Gonzalez/American-Statesman)
(Rodolfo Gonzalez/American-Statesman)

Maribel Molina, online content producer


Emily Quigley, assistant features editor

  • Getting to buy a new outfit for the first day of school (and the ridiculous amount of time and energy that went into picking it out)
  • Pencil toppers
  • Metal lunch boxes with a matching thermos from your favorite movie or TV show (my Pigs in Space one is still my favorite)

TIPS AND TRICKS: Packing lunch for school

Courtney Sebesta, senior online editor

  • Trapper Keepers
  • Pencil cases
  • Brown-paper-wrapped textbooks
  • Big Chief notebooks
  • Troll doll pencils
  • Dusting erasers
  • Rubber cement

Eric Webb, social media & engagement editor

  • Saving my leftover lunch money each day to build up a healthy nest egg
  • Acting like a Snickers ice cream bar and a bottle of chocolate milk were an acceptable lunch on Fridays
  • Getting a new locker and then decorating said locker
  • After-school rehearsals
  • Binders with built-in hole-punchers
  • School carnivals! Includes those little popper things that made a “bang!” when you threw them on the ground
  • Ice packs, especially if they were shaped like giant M&Ms

What do you miss most? Let us know in the comments.

Author: Eric Webb

Eric Webb is a web producer for the Austin American-Statesman and Austin360. He blogs about Austin culture, pop culture and anything that lives on the Internet.

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