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LJ Idol week 3: It's a trap!

As a kid, one of the highlights of my summer was always back to school shopping.

Yup, I was that girl. 

I liked school, but more importantly I liked school supplies. I was certain that if I had the perfect things, I was going to instantly transform from the bookish, quiet girl I was into one of the popular kids. Every August, I nursed the hope that this was the year I’d have all the right stuff and become the envy of my class.

Mom would designate a shopping day, and on the selected morning we’d head into Green Bay. Mom would start with clothes shopping, which was fine but not my favorite thing. Once we had picked out the new clothes came the part of the trip that was pure fun. I’d be released into the school supplies aisle at ShopKo with my mimeographed list from the school to search out the perfect accessories for the new me.

First – the binder. This was the early 80’s so of course it was a Trapper Keeper. The plan was to find something so awesome that the moment I pulled it out of my backpack in sight of my classmates I would be cool forever. I carefully examined all of the color and design choices available. I decided to go with a solid color, so I could add on the foil-reflective unicorn sticker that I had been saving for months. I imagined the sticker on different backgrounds and in different places, and finally I picked out The One.

Then it was time to look through the colored pens, the designer pencils, the rulers and protractors, the folders and notebooks. Everything had to coordinate.  Each subject got its own folder in its own color which required specific planning. After all, the subjects and colors couldn’t be thrown together willy-nilly. (Math was always blue, I remember that.) Once all of the exciting things were chosen I added the remaining necessities; loose-leaf paper, an eraser, the boring stuff.

When I got home it was time to assemble. I carefully filled the binder with the folders and the paper, putting pencils and pens in the pockets. I got the sticker from my bedroom and debated the perfect angle for several minutes before peeling the paper backing off and placing it carefully in the corner. Once that was done I put the Trapper into my backpack, so I could see the full effect of the reveal.

The forest green color looked like a field that the foil unicorn was running through, and when open the folders inside in yellows, blues, and purples looked like an early dawn sunrise.

It was perfect. And I knew, with this Trapper Keeper as my standard, I was destined for greatness.

@@@This is my entry for week 3 of LJ Idol - "It's a trap".  Believe it or not they still make
Trapper Keepers - whee.  There will be a poll up in the community on Satuday; thanks for reading.@@@

Clever use of the theme!

Thanks! I spent last night trying to think of trap ideas with my boyfriend and once he said trapper keeper I knew this was something I could write about.

That's awesome they still make them. I love them! I remember the awe of getting a new one each year. My favorite one had swans on it.

I had my green one with assorted stickers for years. I added or moved stickers every year, but it lasted for several years of grade school.

I don't remember seeing one with swans, awesome!

A wonderful story of a hopeful childhood memory. Well done.

Thanks. Sadly the trapper keeper didn't = cool, but I still liked it.

The one thing I miss about being a student is back to school shopping. I have a love of school supplies. You have no idea how many pens/pencils/highlighters I found in a recent clean of my room.

Nice :-)

One of the great things about my job is it's still all about the office supplies. I have a huge collection of post its - all different shapes and colors.

The only bummer about finding so many writing instruments when you clean is it gives you less excuse to go and buy more.


OMG I loved buying new school supplies! I always went a little mad in the sales. And now, 10 years after having left school, I still have like 30 unused exercise books. xD

School supplies were the best part of school shopping. I'm still using up pages of half-notebooks from college, so I feel your pain.

I went to school in the 80s and 90s and always wanted a Trapper Keeper! They seemed so cool, and I have no idea why! LOL.

I got one in 4th grade, after begging for the whole summer. I used that binder for years and years.

I think the coolness was related to the velcro closure myself, or just the excitement of having something brand name.

I remember my kids insisting on having those Trapper Keepers. Good trip down memory lane.

I played the "look at this cool ad, let me show you this one thing in the store" game all that summer to convince Mom to spend the extra money on the trapper keeper since it was more expensive. It was very important.


This is great! I agree with the above comment on your take on the theme - brilliant.

Thanks so much! I was stuck until my boyfriend and I started coming up with alternative trap meanings: drum kit, shooting trap, that kind of thing. Once he mentioned a trapper keeper I knew what I was writing.

I just found an old trapper keeper...in a box...so it made me smile seeing it mentioned here.. :)

Really? I think my green one might actually still be in my parents attic - I know I was very protective of it. Cool that you still have one.

I love this post! Trapper keepers were the first thing I thought of when I read the theme for the week, but had no idea what to do with it. Your post is great.

It took my days to think of trapper keepers, maybe we should have met up in the work room. Thanks for your kind words.


I liked school, but more importantly I liked school supplies.

SO nerdy~! <3

And I thought the school supplies would make me cool.

BEYOND nerdy!

Getting a new Trapper Keeper every year was the highlight of my life.

I was also a lonely kid.

I didn't get a new one every year; I held on to that first one for several grades, just adding more stickers and changing the folders inside, until finally it was hugely uncool to still have one when I got to junior high.

Boo to the loneliness, hopefully you've found enough other office supply nerds as an adult (we seem to be all over).

You were the epitome of coolness, sporting that unicorn trapper keeper : ). I'd have wanted to be your friend!

Yay, we could have sat next to each other in class and passed notes.

I still come alive in an office supply store, but nothing compares to back to school shopping--and the new books! Well done.

The books! I think I actually started taking college classes to have an excuse to go to the campus bookstore.