If you think hard about your time in school, especially your middle school years, you may remember, like I do, that it wasn’t about learning the list of presidents. It wasn’t about making the football team — though that did play a role. It wasn’t even about getting good grades. School was about fitting in and being cool, hip, awesome — chose the appropriate adjective for the decade.

If you think hard about your time in school, especially your middle school years, you may remember, like I do, that it wasn’t about learning the list of presidents. It wasn’t about making the football team — though that did play a role. It wasn’t even about getting good grades. School was about fitting in and being cool, hip, awesome — chose the appropriate adjective for the decade.


Part of that process was having the right stuff — clothes, shoes, and even school supplies. Enter the Trapper Keeper, that oversized (as in too big to fit in the desk so it had to go under) notebook designed to keep all your school supplies organized and make you look cool doing it.


For the kid in junior high, the Trapper Keeper was like a car. Each year Mead, the manufacturer, came out with a new model. The old model would still store your stuff, but in the mind of a middle schooler it didn’t serve it’s primary function, to make him or her look as gnarly as possible.


I remember my Trapper Keeper days. When it was school supply shopping time at the beginning of the year, I would beg my mom for a Trapper Keeper. They were always a little pricey and never on the school supply list, so my success rate was mediocre.


I got to thinking about all this recently when I received an email with a link to an article on MentalFloss.com about the history of this school supply fixture. The product was launched in 1978, and for several years after the nationwide release of the Trapper Keeper, the manufacturer sold more than $100 million of the product each year.


Apparently these days there is a market for the vintage products, which sell for $50 or more. The product had its roots in a study by the company that found that students were taking more classes and had smaller lockers, but the need was never what sold them. It was the cool factor.


The Trapper Keeper reflected your personality. If you were a gamer, there was Sonic the Hedgehog. A sports fan, how about your favorite pro team? Some Trapper Keepers featured pictures of that outrageously expensive foreign car boys drool over before they switch to drooling over girls.


It was all about the cool factor.



Happy birthday Monday to Mrs. L.H. "Jeanne" Sisemore, Carol Springfield McCollum, Casondra Taylor and Larry Cole, all of Sherman; Lisa Dunlop, Frances Shaw and Arieon Johnson, all of Denison; Susan Martin of Gunter; Irvin Earl Bashaw of Ouray, Colo.; Kristi Wilks and Ava Herbert-Muse and Kenny Herbert-Muse, all of Howe; Charles Everett of Dorchester; Patsy Howard of Bonham; Jennifer Hughes of Gordonville; Billy Dockery of Trenton, Kristi Wilks of Howe; Connie Lawrence of Denton.


Happy Joe and Vicki Palmore of Colbert, Okla., 18 years; Eric and Patricia Sims of Sherman, 6 years.