Life before Backpacks. How did we get our stuff to school?

School Backpacks for carrying books

Before you know it the school bell will be ringing again. As summer comes to an end parents are frequenting stores readying their children for the coming year and making sure that they have the essential back to school item — the backpack.

It is making me think. I don’t recall ever having a backpack – grade school through college. In fact I don’t even remember having enough of anything to need a backpack! I know I had a big notebook with a zippered pouch inside for pencils and erasers and I had some books. Evidently I just stuck them under my arms and started walking. Later in middle school and high school we had to bring athletic shoes which we weren’t allowed to wear to class along with a pair of shorts, a T-shirt ,and a towel for gym class. We must have had a bag for that.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not knocking backpacks because it is a great convenience and kids today have a lot more to carry back and forth to school than I ever did. All students need backpacks today. Education is a lot more complex and there are more books and accessories needed in addition to supplies that schools no longer provide.

Power to the backpack! I just never had one or can remember how I managed without. What did we do before backpacks and when did they emerge on the scene as the must have item for school? And for those who are wondering…. yes, there was a time before backpacks.

My Elementary School is still open after all these years.

Illustration depicting thought.

Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes it doesn’t take a whole lot for me to get excited.  For some reason I was thinking about elementary schools today and I started thinking about the one I attended for first grade.  I hadn’t been back or seen it since I left there many years ago.  I attended the school for only one year because my father was in the army and we moved a lot.

What I remember about it is that it was in walking distance from our house, that the classroom had a closet with a door that pulled open like it belonged on a garage, and that the school had what I thought was a strange name– Halls Cross.   I also remember the Dick and Jane Readers with the See Spot Run stories.   That will tell you how long ago it was.     The school constructed in 1943 according to its website appears to still be going strong and doing well.  It is amazing that it is still open since many  schools have opened and closed since then.  Actually the correct name is Hall’s Cross Roads Elementary and it is Aberdeen, MD in Harford County.

Next step is to go there and see the school for myself and take pictures.  I am wondering if it will jog any memories and also if the house that we used to live in is still standing.  I still remember the address after all these years.

If you been out of first grade for more years than you can believe what do you remember about it and have you been back in recent years?  Is it still open?