|Lunch boxes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
I can't even remember what kind of lunchbox it was. It may have been one depicting Hopalong Cassidy since I was a big fan as a child. Looking back, I'm not sure what Hoppy's appeal was to boys back then. It was an innocent time when television was still new and we were the benefactors of the heroes of our fathers. Hopalong could never reach hero status in today's world. In the fifties I don't know that "cutting edge" was used in the sense of something that was trendy. Cutting edge would not be a phrase that would be used to describe Hopalong Cassidy. Hopalong was an intergenerational fad in his day--something not often seen in today's pop culture.
If Hopalong wasn't the icon on the lunchbox then it was probably some other Western hero such as Roy Rogers or Davy Crockett. But whoever it might have been was not the biggest item of interest for me. The metal lunch box was pretty nifty and all, but the Thermos inside was the feature attraction as far as I was concerned.
What sold me on the Thermos was that I could carry hot soup to school. That was pretty amazing to me. On a cold day during lunch I could open my Thermos and pour hot soup into the little plastic cup that fit onto the top of the bottle. It was a marvel of marvels as far as I was concerned. Inside that tin box depicting cowboys was a contraption of science fiction proportions--a wonder of the modern age.
Hot soup was probably not the only liquid I carried in my Thermos. I undoubtedly carried cold beverages as well, but I can't remember exactly what they might have been. What I did know--and something that was part of the Thermos advertising campaign--was that this magic bottle kept liquids hot or cold until needed.
This was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the school year of 1958. We'd moved to the Penn Hills neighborhood from Cleveland, Ohio. We moved to Penn Hills during the summer of 1958 and stayed until almost the end of the school year leaving at the beginning of June 1959 when we were uprooted to San Diego, California. That year at the Penn Hills school would be the only time I would ever carry a lunchbox to school.
Seeing as how the lunchbox didn't get that much use, it was probably in pretty good condition after we left Pittsburgh. I'm sure I found a way to trash it though. I distinctly remember breaking the inside of the Thermos at some point. I probably wanted to see how the darn thing worked. I had a habit of doing that sort of thing when I was younger.
The tin box is another story. Maybe I used it to keep things in for a while. Can't rightly say that I remember. Somehow the box faded out of my life like so many things I'd had as a child. If I had known better, I would have kept it and preserved it. But why would I think of such a thing. It was just a tin box to carry sandwiches and cupcakes in and it once had a Thermos bottle in it that I broke to see how it worked.
I guess I probably should have taken better care of a lot of things and kept them. My parents would have loved that. Our house would have looked like one of those houses you see in those television shows about hoarders. I'd bet you a Thermos bottle full of hot soup that some of those hoarders you see on television have old lunch boxes kind of like the one I had. Their lunch boxes might even still have old sandwiches in them and soup in the Thermos bottles.
Maybe it's a good thing that I don't have that lunch box anymore. But still I wonder.