The first day of grade school is a scary time for a youngster. But at that age, friendships can be born from virtually anything, and before long, you're no longer an outsider. As many of you may recall there existed little pieces of grade school culture and nostalgia that brought each of us closer to the boy or girl sitting in the next desk. To help you focus on that trip back down grade school memory lane, here are our 17 All-Time Nostalgic Grade School Memories. How many sound familiar to you?
1. Trapper Keeper
To start the school year right, you needed a place to put your stuff so that you could stay organized and get your work done. With its velcro flap and three internal rings, the Trapper Keeper was Mom and Dad's answer to the dilemma of "he'd lose his head if it wasn't attached to his shoulders." The bad thing about Trapper Keepers: in spite of your youthful ever-changing-interests, you had one picture to keep you company through the entire school year. Rainbow Brite not your thing after 36 weeks of school work? Tough!
2. Casio Calculator Watch
In the 80's the Casio Calculator Watch was the premier educational electronic device. Apple and Texas Instruments could just eat their hearts out. The Casio solidified it's role in pop culture when it was worn by none other than Marty McFly in Robert Zmeckis’s acclaimed blockbuster “Back to the Future.” The enormous facing of these things consisted of a digital display under which were rows of annoying little buttons that made it look like you knew what the heck you were doing.
3. Eraser Mate Pens
The Eraser Mate Pen was a great idea on paper. Actually, it wasn't. Because even though you could use the eraser on the ink, it would usually smear and make your essay on what you did during summer break look like even more of a mess than it would have had you simply drawn a line through the offending screw-up. Nevertheless, we had to have 'em (Until we actually used 'em, that is).
4. Metal Themed Lunchboxes
Sure, metal themed lunchboxes were given to rusting because-well, because we were kids and hadn't the slightest concept of taking care of our crap. Still, these beautiful carriers of peanut butter, jelly and juice-box were the perfect way for us to look cool while showing the world that we loved the NFL, Wuzzles, and QBert.
5. Fluffy Pens
This one was more for the ladies, but Fluffy Pens were the perfect way for you to take notes and do your math problems in class while still saying, "Look at me, I'm cool." That was at least true unless you were that poor little guy in the corner of the room, who always forgot everything and had to borrow from your Fluffy Pen loving neighbor. Then, it was just a one-way ticket to Wedgieville.
6. Chicken Fights
One of the most fun-and potentially embarrassing, if you were a boy losing to a girl-games on the playground was that of the chicken fight. The fight took place on the monkey bars, and the "chicken" was presumably derived from the way that you had to wiggle and contort your legs to get them around your opponent's body, so you could pull him (or her) off the monkey bars without using your hands. Some school districts have started removing monkey bars from their playgrounds in the belief they present too much of a danger to kids. Talk about removing the "fun" from recess, ouch!
7. Gender Specific Games
Some games were more favorable to boys than girls and vice versa. The two that immediately come to mind are "Four Square" and "Kill the Kid With the Ball
8. Oregon Trail
Oregon Trail was one of many lame computer games that we thought were awesome way back when. But of all the ones out there-Carmen San Diego, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune-it was probably the coolest. How cool? There is currently a version on your iPhone that reeks of awesomeness. Graphics are enhanced, so you may be disappointed if you're an old school gamer, but so long as little Emily can still get dysentery, it works for us!
9. Lemonade Stand Computer Programs
Early on people understood how video games could be used for the educational well-being of children. Nowhere was this more evident than the Lemonade Stand computer program, which couldn't even be considered games, really. The goal was to teach children math and prepare them for life in general via a computerized lemonade stand business. Not to get into a huge educational critique, but many still feel kids could use a little more Lemonade Stand and a little less Mass Effect.
10. Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Books
Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys were just two of the many famous young adult literary creations that enjoyed the concept of "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. These books contained an opening segment that would be a main part of the story. But when it came time for the characters to choose, the reader would get the opportunity to do the same. Those choices would either take them to the next page or to another point in the book, where the story would follow a new path until the next major decision. You really had to love books to get the gist of these without any confusion. And many of us did!
11. Floppy Disks
The really old among you will remember those thin, giant 5 1/4" floppy disks that could barely store a 10-page file on them without giving you problems. These were among some of the first attempts at computer data storage. They were followed by the much improved but still incredibly limited 3 1/2", which many of us used to get through college. Today, we've got 1 terabyte hard drives and 8 gigabyte flash drives. Thankfully, some pieces of nostalgia do die a horrible death.
HE-MAN…and the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERRRRRSE!!! The mythical kingdom of Eternia gave birth to one of the most legendary heroes the world has ever known. Following the adventures of Adam and Cringer, who turned in to He-Man and Battle-Cat, respectively, every time Adam held aloft his magic sword and said, "By the power of Greyskull!", He-Man was one of the most popular cartoons of the 80's. So popular was it, in fact, that it later introduced us to Adam's sister "She-Ra, Princess of Power," who lived on the planet Etheria. Eventually, She-Ra would be reunited with her family in Eternia, but she wouldn't stay for long. The two cartoons were favorites among both boys and girls.
13. Garbage Pail Kids
If you were a GenXer, then you know all about those annoying Cabbage Patch Kids that your mother collected. The Garbage Pail Kids were your cool answer to Mom's oh-so-adorably-cute perm-headed freakazoids. Your freakazoids ate out of trash cans and got their own really terrible movie. Take that, Cabbage Heads.
14. Holding Hands
Forget first kisses! There was a time when holding hands with that special someone was the barometer for whether or not you were a serious couple. You could talk and pass notes all you wanted to, but until those fingers became interlaced together, both of you were on the market.
15. Lunchtime Oddities
The school cafeteria has been the brunt of more jokes than politicians. Just try to find a Nickelodeon program during the 80's that didn't portray the school cafeteria as a job for the Board of Health, and you'll be looking all day, with zero luck. But the school cafeteria wasn't all bad. Take, for instance, square pizza and frozen chocolate milk (in a carton-mmmm!). Also, the hot ham and cheese sandwich was always a hit in our neck of the woods. Add to the mix that giant dome of mashed potatoes with white gravy and chicken fingers, and you've got a concoction that Gordon Ramsay himself couldn't beat.
16. Teacher's Pet
In grade school, no matter what age you were, the last thing on earth you probably wanted to be was the Teacher's Pet. It was much easier finding friends and worrying about your grades later. After all, what was the worst thing a teacher could do to you? Assign simple fractions? Ooh, we're scared! Kids, on the other hand, had no problem pulling your waistband up over your head with you still wearing them. Still, there were some kids that just had to bring the apple to class and rat you out for sawing away whole sections of your desk with a piece of exposed metal from your spiral-bound notebook.
17. Mr. Sketch Scented Markers
Mr. Sketch was the ultimate gateway drug. Who among us didn't take a hit of that wonderful marker smell before scrawling out a picture of Luke and his treacherous journey through the Death Star? Best of all, each color smelled differently, so you never knew what you were going to get, but you did know that whatever it was it would be awesome.
In summary, this list of the 17 All-Time Nostalgic Grade School Memories has a little something for everyone, young and old. But as with most lists, I'm sure we've missed some great Grade School memories you remember fondly. What should have made the list? Sound off below. We want to hear your comments!