Whatever happened to …

… metal lunch boxes?

Before I go to any conference anymore, my wife admonishes me – do NOT bring home any coffee mugs, water bottles, or bags. You have enough! Of course, she’s right and I did leave my water bottle on the registration desk at the end of the conference because I know that it will end up in a good home in a classroom somewhere.

But, I had to keep the coffee mug.

Sorry for the coffee stain but I was having a cuppa while writing this. The mug is metal; I’ve never had one like that before and it’s green. We stuffed bags with green, purple, and cyan mugs. My friend Kristeen and I made sure that we managed to get a green one.

We joked that if time became tough, these will have an authentic sound if people throw nickels and dimes our way. I had to explain to Kristeen that we got rid of pennies. Really?

It also brought back memories of elementary school where the kids who dined in the gym at lunch had metal lunch boxes. Not just plain ones either – they were branded with things like The Monkees or The Beatles or Hot Wheels or Barbie or …

I never had the joy. I was a town kid and home was just over 2 blocks from the school so I went home every day for lunch. And, I learned the greatest scam for getting out of class early too – I was a crossing guard and we had to leave 5 – 10 minutes before lunch to get into position to help the other kids who went home for lunch. My patrol was crossing Highway 8 on the way to Seaforth. So, I’d do my crossing duty – run home and grab lunch – usually a peanut butter sandwich and then go back to school to play with friends. 5 – 10 minutes before school resumed, I ran back to do the reverse crossing guard gig.

But, there was something special about the kids who stayed at school for lunch with their metal lunch boxes. They were just so cool plus they could keep the box in their desk and sneak a bite in the morning unlike those of us who were lunchbox-less.

For a Sunday, your thoughts…

  • Did you have a metal lunch box? Do you remember the brand/advertising on it?
  • Did you go home for lunch instead?
  • Of course, if you’re like me, you had lunch. Not two nutrition breaks masquerading as lunch 1 and lunch 2
  • Today’s alternatives aren’t metal – they’re either plastic or some sort of bag with insulation. How did our generation keep our lunch cool?
  • Nowadays, metal lunch boxes in good condition are collectible. It’s not uncommon to see them in second hand or antique stores. Any idea what the going rate for these things might be?

How about sharing some of you elementary school dining escapades via comment below?

This blog post is part of a regular fun series that appear on Sunday mornings. You can enjoy all of the older posts here.

7 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. I think that my previous principal, John, has to reply to this post. He has a little metal lunchbox that he brings to school everyday. I can see the yellow colour now, and I know it’s branded with a cartoon image, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what it is. I feel like it might be Scooby Doo. Every time that I see the lunchbox, it takes me back. It’s amazing how objects do that. Nostalgia. Curious to hear if others have metal lunch box experiences.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I walked home for lunch for a couple of years. 4th through 6th grade. Before and after that school was much to far away. I had some metal lunch boxes. Roy Rogers was one as I recall. I actually got one, Microsoft Imagine Cup branded, some years ago when I worked at Microsoft. I never used it though.

    I did bring home bags from CSTA. I brought home the insulated soft sided lunch bag that our “box lunches” were served in. I will use that to bring my lunches to school in the fall. I bring a lunch every day and that bag will come in handy.

    Conference bags get used as reusable shopping bags at our house. I think that is a lot better than tossing them out or using plastic bags.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ditto for shopping bags. We have a collection in each of our vehicles and beside the door in the garage. We can’t move without running into a bag. Of course, in my office area, I have a couple of bags filled with bags!

    It’s funny how times change, and for the better. I can remember getting plastic bags at conferences years ago. You’d never see that these days.


  4. I remember metal lunch boxes as a child; I also remember glass-lined thermos bottles that we would use in them.

    When I was in grade 1 I thought it would be fun to push my lunchbox down the slide at school. I still remember the sound of the glass in the thermos shattering and the instant fear of how much trouble I would be in when I got home…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Glad to hear you have a cool, metal mug now 🙂

    I walked to my elementary school at the start and end of the day, but I guess it was a little too far for a lunch trip home (esp. come winter). The kids in my neighbourhood stayed at school for lunch. I only recall my thick, durable plastic lunch box, with the thermos clamp thing on the inside of the big lid. I think I recall “lunchbox stickers” which may have advertised this and that, or were simply a collection of banana stickers 🙂 Did our thermos of cold milk or juice help keep our sandwich cold? Did things stay fresh enough until noon, as opposed to a “Lunch 2” time?

    My intermediate school was even closer to home… so home for lunch, it was, and still time to get back for outdoor play. As for high school.. a short bus ride and only paper lunch bags were cool, of course, but eating in the “caf” was even cooler.

    Liked by 1 person

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