Thursday, November 16, 2006

a friend in need

This little backpack is an old, dear friend of mine. I bought it from J.Crew back in 1994, just after college graduation. After college I spent a year living and working in London, and the backpack was with me the entire time. I got it because I wanted something easy to carry around when I was away... something small enough for every day, but big enough to handle all my extra things, like my maps, journal, and passport. It did an outstanding job for me in every respect. It was comfortable, durable, handled all kinds of weather. It was with me everywhere I went, every country and city I traveled to. When I look back at my pictures from that year there are so many that include the backpack. One of my friends who I got to know over there wanted to trade me her sweater - which I coveted - for it, but I just couldn't do it. By then it had become too precious for me to part with.

I thought I would probably hang it up when I returned home, but old habits die hard. Coming home I immediately dove into graduate school and a new city life, and I turned to the backpack as I made my way about town. It was great here, too. I loved how I could shop at the market hands-free. I loved how I could walk around with it but still shimmy around small spaces. I loved that I could head out in the morning with my lunch stored away, in case I didn't want to come home or if I didn't have money to eat out (which of course I never did.)

After I school when I got a "real" job, I did hang up the backpack. Not for good, but for longer and longer periods of time. I carried a different bag to work. I used purses more. The backpack was still there, but I noticed that I only took it out if I was going on some kind of all-day excursion or somewhere that would require me bringing extra stuff. I didn't use it as much but I still loved it.

Then I had kids. My my my, how quickly the backpack came flying out of the closet! Its usage speed went from zero to sixty in no time and its become again an appendage of my body. Now, it's all I use every day, and all my purses are packed away. For all the reasons that I loved it when I was abroad and during my graduate school days, I have loved it even more with kids. There's still plenty of room for all the stuff I schlep along, and my hands are free to take the small hand of someone near. It rocks.

But, it's starting to show its age. Today one of my sons accidentally snapped its leather drawstring cord in half. The magnetic closure isn't quite what it once was. The zipper on the inner pocket is broken, and the cloth on the outer pocket is becoming thin. I fear I will have to say a permanent goodbye to this friend of mine, maybe in the not-so-distant future. That will be a sad day. But boy, do we have some great memories together.

6 comments:

Deb said...

Isn't it always the way - purses are just like shoes - just when you have them broken in so that they fit perfectly ... they fall apart!

Belle-ah said...

I love the backpack! I think I would probably hang it on the back of my closet door with some dried flowers as a place of honor.

Jen said...

It's beautiful and the I imagine the memories just make it more so. What a reliable friend you have there.

homedaisy said...

i had a backpack that went through so much of life with me as well. it was a red jansport and i called it my 'red bag of courage' :) you had better taste, so i agree with belle-ah, make it part of your decor.

Susie Q said...

Such a wonderful story. My husband was very loyal to his backpack...through college, into the Navy...all over Europe and Asia...when it fell apart, he trashed the poor thing. Not a fitting ending. Yes, make it part of your decor. A few lovely seasonal flowers...

I so enjoy your blog. I am new at this but get such inspiration for folks like you. Thank you!

Fondly,
Sue

East of Oregon said...

I like the backpack too!