I came across my pencil box from elementary school while clearing out the drawers of the computer desk I’m dismantling. I don’t remember much about the box, like what year I got it; nor do I remember much about the individual items in the box. The items have been added over the years. I come across this box every few years and open it to see what is in it. Sometimes I remove items, sometimes I add to the contents. Today I just inventoried everything and put them back in the box. This is what I found.
Starting at 12 o’clock is the box itself. It is made of wood. It is made of wood (I don’t know what kind) and is approximately 9 1/4 X 2 1/8 X 1 1/4 in. or 23 1/2 X 5 1/2 X 3 centimeters. The top swivels on a wood screw and has a toy train decal on the top. There are two compartments inside. On the bottom there is not an oval metallic sticker that says CHINA, but rather a red, ink-stamped JAPAN. Well, it was the 50’s.
Moving clockwise are four U.S. 8 cent air mail stamps. These particular stamps were issued in 1962, when I was a sophomore in high school. The U.S. stopped issuing air mail stamps quite a while back.
Below the stamps is a yellow mechanical pencil. I have tried using mechanical pencils off and on over the years, but have never had a lot of luck using them. For me, the lead seems to break too often, and after a short while the mechanical part of the pencil starts to fail. It won’t hold the lead in the pencil, so I end up throwing the pencil away, or in this case, packing it away. If I look hard enough I’ll probably find at least one box of partially used pencil leads.
Below the mechanical pencil are 8 wooden kitchen matches. I have no clue why I put them in the box.
To the left of the matches is the bulb from a flashlight. I’m sure I haven’t owned the flashlight in years.
Next is a nail clipper on a chain. Also on the chain is a key to a metal box I no longer own. The second key is lying loose beside the chained one.
Above the nail clipper are two colored pencils, one yellow and one blue. I don’t remember ever using colored pencils, but I evidently owned a set at one time. At least I put the survivors of the set in their proper home.
Finally just below the pencil box is an unsharpened IU Hoosier pencil. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m glad I have it!
The question I have is not where did all of these separate things come from and end up together, though it is a good question, but rather, are pencil boxes manufactured anymore? If they are, I’ll bet they are made of plastic and not of wood with a wood screw pivot.