’80s Back to School Accessories

Here is an article I wrote a few years ago. I try to repost it at this time every year. There are many new readers since I last posted this. I had a lot of fun writing this, so I would like to share it again. Enjoy!

Well, it’s getting to be the time of year most of us used to dread – Back to School season! It’s not such a big deal now. Actually, for those of you who are parents of school-age children, it’s probably the most wonderful time of year! So, now it’s safe to reminisce about the accessories that we had to start the new school year.

The Multi-colored pen by Bic

Amazing! You had 4 different colors in 1 pen! Teachers usually made you write in black or blue ink. You didn’t need different pens to do this now! And you could be a rebel and use red or green. And how many of you tried to squeeze as many colors out of the tip as you could, and try to write that way?! And of those people, how many of us used to have to unscrew the pen to get the tips unstuck? Maybe that’s why my grades weren’t so good.

Metal TV or Movie Lunchboxes


I’m sure we have all rocked the metal lunchboxes that usually had a TV show or movie theme at one time before we became to old for it and started brown-bagging it. There were usually scenes from the show all around the lunch box, and even on the sites and the bottom.

And don’t forget the thermos! It was awesome to have one that had even more scenes all around it instead to the cheesy ones that only had a picture on one side. My favorites were the Six Million Dollar Man and Star Wars. I can’t remember off the top of my head what other ones I had.

Digital Watch (with Calculator)

I probably could have used one of these. Before there were cell phones with calculators, and now iPhones, there was the digital watch with the calculator built in. Not only was it awesome for somebody to have a digital watch, but it was even better if it included the calculator. I’m sure that if the teachers were smart, they would make those people take off their watches before a math test.

Paper Bag Book Cover

cca24acd882d898f4dc7dc0514053508One of the most annoying parts of going back to school – making your book covers! Some kids had theirs nice and tight. But, kids like me had theirs covered so that the bag went way too far past the book. And then you would have to fold the loose ends back over. I know there’s some people who know what I mean! The best part about these, though, was that you could draw your favorite rock band logo. I used to love drawing the V and H for the Van Halen logo, or the ZZ Top logo, or the symbols for Led Zeppelin. OK, maybe messing around with the multi-colored pen wasn’t the only reason why I didn’t have better grades in school!

The Trapper Keeper

And the Granddaddy of them all – The Trapper Keeper! Oh, the Trapper Keeper and I had such high hopes at the beginning of the school year. I could keep all my subjects organized into their own folders. There was even a pad in the back. You could use the binder to put in your loose leaf paper. Then by the end of the first quarter of school, some of the folders would be bulging and bursting. The paper on the pad in the back of the Trapper Keeper would be gone because each top piece would rip out each time I closed the folder. The Trapper Keeper would be bulging, and the Velcro would wear out or rip off. Ah, those were the days! Here’s the Trapper Keeper commercial that I remember:

So, do you have any favorite memories/headaches from Back to School accessories?

6 thoughts on “’80s Back to School Accessories”

  1. I had that exact same Six-Million-Dollar Man lunchbox! Ah, memories…

    Wanted the digital watch, but never got one. I did have paper bag book covers and a Trapper Keeper.


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