Ah, how I miss the Trapper Keeper, Meads solution to all of your back to school needs: It was successfully able to organize all of your school supplies, express your individuality, and make you appear as if you were on the cutting edge of cool. Those patented butterfly folders gave a much needed update to the Pee Chee folder's old school, plaino vertical compartments, you know, the same type of folder technology that your parents used. They made sure your irreplaceable 4th period English Lit homework was safely trapped and kept, that shit was going nowhere.
But what made the Trapper Keeper most memorable was not it's utilitarian specifications, it was the artwork, the shear variety and yet equally amazing designs that adorned this cutting edge binder/folder (excuse me, portfolio) technology. All of the hundreds of individual Trapper Keeper graphics seemed to fit into but a few broad categories. Frankly, I couldn't possibly begin to categorize all these portfolio classifications, I'll leave that to some more qualified scholar. I will however, list a few of my favs. You had your futuristic geometric patterns, the ones with three dimensional shapes floating in a black abyss highlighted by new wave color patterns and lightning bolts. These were always my personal favorites and I sought them out with every anticipated trip to the Wallgreens, K-Mart, or Longs Drugs.
Then you had the fantasy psych girl designs, best typified by the Lisa Frank collection. Lisa Frank single handedly brought to life the collective dreams and fantasies of the average mall going, baby sitter club reading, Tiffany listening cadre of femme petites. She had a whole roster of established characters which adorned her line. There was Rainbow Chaser (the brown horse with the purple hooves), the dapper Hollywood Bear (decked out in a top hat and tuxedo), Max Splash (The Killer Whale who always seemed to be leaping over a beautiful rainbow), Echo the dolphin (duh), Skye (the Pegasus flying high in the Lisa Frank sky), Angel Kitty ( The winged cat with rainbow stripes), and of course Markie (the rainbow clad flagship fantasy animal- unicorn). While I scoffed at such girly shenanigans in my youth I have come to acquire an affinity for these far out color explosions of fantasy psychedelia. It's not hard to see why untold legions female youths proudly waved the Lisa Frank banner.
There were so many amazing Trapper Keeper designs that meant so much to so many people. It's hard not to take a trip through Trapper Keeper memories gone by without feeling a bit nostalgic, without wanting to recapture the excitement and pride of carrying a brand new TP down the halls of your middle school. I have attempted to mimic this sensation by acquiring thrift store Trapper Keepers... and I have been somewhat successful. I am the proud owner a beautiful forest scenario Trapper Keeper, one that I proudly utilized during my first professional meeting at my first professional job. But still, the pride I felt at that first meeting was not the same as the youthful exuberance I experienced walking down those 1992 school hallways. I suppose some things are impossible to recapture, but it doesn't mean that you shouldn't try. I leave you with a few of my favorite Trapper Keepers, ones that would make any child of the 80's proud.