The other day I found myself on a crowded city bus. It was mid-afternoon and many of my fellow commuters were college or university students. At one point the bus became so cramped that the driver had to insist on those carrying/wearing backpacks to remove them. Put them on the floor between your feet. Don’t take up two places.
This got me to thinking how things change. My memory can be vague at times, but when I was in grade school I recall the common means of toting your books was a school bag. It was probably part of the backpack family as it was worn on one’s back via straps over each shoulder. By high school these bookbags were passé and it was bare hands used to carry books.
When you got to college or university it was a very serious matter, school bags were for children. The university student of my day carried his or her things in a briefcase. Backpacks were strictly for travel purposes. No one ever had to accuse another of taking up two places on the bus or Metro while carrying a briefcase.
Then again it was probably also true that the buses were more packed in those days as, unlike the current trend, no self-respecting student of higher education would have arrived on campus on a skateboard. This purported entrance to adulthood called for the retirement of childhood toys.
How times have changed indeed!