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Thursday, April 26, 2012

My new vintage book bag (Status: I wax poetic)

I'm a thrifting guy, but sometimes you have to go to other sources to find exactly what you are looking for; in this case I wanted a great beat-up,vintage leather book bag, that would hold my MacBook, with one or two generous outside pockets and a strap (pen loops would be a bonus).  I found almost exactly what I wanted in Austria (not Australia), on Etsy!  Meet my new book bag...
I have had one of those ubiquitous Israeli paratrooper book bags since 1985.  I bought it from Banana Republic, back in the day, when they were a cool, quirky importer of sturdy, exotic surplus items dug out from warehouses in 3rd world backwaters.  It has served me as book bag, laptop bag, record carrier, camera bag and general companion for school, travel and adventure for 27 years.  I have worn large holes in the back, the side is split and the strap has frayed to mere strands; with a heavy heart, I have retired my trusty companion.  It felt to me like a betrayal of my old book bags memory to go out and buy another Israeli Paratrooper bag and all of the new bags were lacking in character, which my 27 year old bag had in spades, so I started looking at used bags.  All the used bags just looked like... bags, there was no magic, no character...no soul.  One night I saw a vintage leather school bag carried by a character in a TV show and the part of my heart searching for a suitable new bag lit-up!  I decided I needed a vintage leather school bag and commenced a search on eBay and Etsy for that special magic bag- with soul.  It took me three months, but finally, I found it with a seller in Austria; I loved it at first sight, but it did not appear to have a strap (vitally necessary).  I asked the seller if there was a strap and they replied "no, but you are right; of course for a lap top bag there must be a strap.  I will have one made and added to the bag right away".  I ended up paying about $115.00, including shipping, for this gloriously worn and battered but sturdy as the day it was made (sometime in the late 1950s the seller guesses) school bag.

It perfectly houses my lap top and a notebook in the two main pockets, the power adaptor in one of the outside pockets, pens and other small stuff in the other outside pocket.
Another thing I wanted was that the bag not be too thick and bulky. Yes, just right!


Look at the patina, the general air of age (I can almost smell the years of sweat, cigarettes, moldering book pages, spilled ink and history).  This thing will last another 50 years and shrug it off with a casual "but of course, sir".
I'm thinking of naming it "Emile".

7 comments:

  1. Nice score! It's also awesome that the etsy seller got a new strap made for you. I have a small collection of vintage leather bags that serve as my purse/camera/book bag. I've luckily bought all of mine at thrifts or at Buffalo Exchange.

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  2. Also since you're +famous+ now you should be modeling the satchel, hehe. ;)

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    1. "Famous" (snort), maybe, maybe, maybe I have "notoriety".
      Do you have some modeling suggestions...

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  3. Very cool bag! It definitely has character. Like you, I like a bag large enough to hold almost everything I own.

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  4. Love the bag! It looks like it was worth the 3 month search and worth every penny you paid for it. It oozes weathered charm!

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    1. "Weathered charm" exactly what I was going for!

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  5. Great bag! It has fantastic style.

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