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A Story Behind Every Backpack

This week we reported on the history of the school backpack, and it got a lot of you talking. If you missed the post, check it out here.

It turns out that most backpacks come with a story, and we wanted to hear some of those stories.

We asked for pictures of your first, current or favorite backpack using the hashtag #nprbackpack. Here are some of our favorites:

Some backpacks double as travelogues:

Other backpacks represent personal timelines:

All backpacks seem to represent their owner. Almost like an extension of their personality:

Also, the classic "off to school" shot:

And we even got a short lesson on the history of school backpacks in Sweden:

On Facebook some of you tried to one-up my editor Steve Drummond with your own "in my day" experiences:

"No one used backpacks in later years (I'm 68), but in elementary school, when I rode a bike to school, I used an olive drab WWII surplus backpack, from my father, I think. He later told me it was actually the pack a paratrooper wore strapped to his front." - Marion Moïse, on Facebook

"Was recently telling my kids that if a boy liked you, he'd carry your books (I graduated from high school in 1986)!" - Kim Hallemann Crank, on Facebook

"We didn't use backpacks when I went to school. We carried our books on the backs of dinosaurs." - Eileen Noel, on Facebook

And a certain debate emerged in our comment section about whether you were a "one-strapper" or "two-strapper":

"Do you wear it over both shoulders or just swing it over one?" - Thorfinn Skullsplitter, NPR.org

"I graduated HS in 1979, and used a backpack from middle school on. We would NEVER have put it on our backs - the cool way to wear it was slung over one shoulder. The only exception was while you were riding your bike, as long as said bike was a fancy 10-speed with the 'ram's horns' handlebars." - mayya, NPR.org

"I think the two-strap thing came about because more weight was being carried in backpacks, too much to be comfortably carried on one shoulder." - Joseph, NPR.org

"Oh, the contemptible double-loopers." - Denise Powers, NPR.org

It turns out that Slate even wrote an article about the one-strap/two-strap phenomenon. Check it out here.

What inspired the article? A scene from the movie 21 Jump Street, which is definitely worth a look:

So, which one are you? One-strap or two?

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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