What's In My Handbag (part 6) - The School Bag Edition

When I was in my last year at high school there was a definite trend with school bags. The girls used a green canvas messenger bag which could be purchased from the local camping shop.  The strap was kept as long as possible so the bag hung near your knee somewhere and the bag material was ideal for writing friend's relationship statuses on (yes, even before Facebook was invented we flaunted our love life in public) in black marker pen. The boys preferred to use the largest bag available - an Adidas sports bag - with the shortest straps so it could only be carried with the handles clenched in the fist and slung over the shoulder. You quickly learnt not to stand behind one of the boys whilst waiting to get off the school bus as they flung that bag over their shoulder with great force.

school bags, messenger bag, adidas retro sports bag

JD Sports, rucksack
To celebrate what is the last ever "First Day Back At School" in the O'Hara household, JD Sports sent Jake the pick of their school bag range. It seems that the rucksack is the bag of choice for this year as he selected this bag which is almost as big as he is - and that's saying something (he also chose this gym sack for his PE kit which proves that Adidas is still going strong after all these years).

As a bit of an experiment, I thought I'd compare the contents of a school bag from over 25 years ago (of course my memory is that good!) with a school bag of today.  Here are the results:


Homework Diary (complete with forged parent signatures each week)
Pencil case (4 pens in different colours, scented eraser, felt tip pens, liquid paper, liquid paper thinners, a couple pencils, a pencil sharpener, a maths set (protractor, set square which I can't ever remember using, compass)
Two or three A4 Project files
At least three or four text books at any given time
At least three or four exercise books depending on what lessons we had
(PE Kit twice a week)


Homework diary
Pencil case (6 pens, 2 pencils, rubber, ruler, sharpener, Tippex roller)
School booklet
Exam test days
School text books (Science, english, maths, drama)
Exercise books (Science, English, Maths, Drama)
School holidays timetable
(PE Kit once a week)

We both made our lists in secret so what amazes me is how similar they are, even with a 25+ year gap, especially the fact that we both carried trainers with us all the time.  Jake's are probably for dossing around but mine were for extra sprint training at lunch time (in between Prefect duty and sneaking off for a crafty fag round the back of the school Chapel). Also, even with the advent of digital technology, schools still hand out Homework Diaries for pupils to write out their timetable, take notes and keep reminders.

So, can you remember what was in your school bag and how does it compare to the bags your children take to school now?

NB: As this post contains a bit where I talk about an item we were sent, here's a link to my disclosure policy.