Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holy Artifact

The Disney Schoolbus Lunchbox--the original version--for years now the Holy Grail of my garage sale, flea market, and e-Bay searches. Why? Because it was my first lunch box in first grade, and the one thing for school I was allowed to pick, and one of the coolest things I ever saw. The one I owned went to rust and was thrown away, its thermos broken and gone for years already when it was tossed (a parental executive decision), but I always kept my eyes open for a replacement. When we saw one as a display at Clear Springs Restaurant I almost plotzed, and planned most of the meal how to steal it. (Too many witnesses though--about 200.) Ones on e-Bay were always a little too expensive. But at Eckman's I ran across this one.
It's not perfect. The thermos and the wire that held it in the domed roof are missing, and there is a touch of wear and rust. But that's okay; that probably accounts for its reasonable price. They were asking for $80, but I haggled it down to $60, and most I'd seen on e-Bay were going for about $120.
It's a complete 3-D representation of a bus, stocked with Disney characters. You can see both sides in the pictures above; not only are the ends figural, but even the bottom shows the wheels and suspension of the bus! The bottom is,of course, where the most wear is. There is a similar lunch box of the time of a Disney fire truck, and a re-issue of a Disney bus, much shorter and featuring new characters from the Disney Afternoon like Goofy's son Max, but this is the old '69 model, lacking only the thermos, thermos frame, and smell of peanut butter and bananas.
You can see on the one side that Bambi is holding a Disney bus in his mouth. As little kids this always filled us with awe that that little bus had a picture of him with another bus, and so on and on. It was one of our first encounters with the idea of infinite progression.

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