cardboard boxes!

ooh! so something Bran commented in my last post reminded me — cardboard boxes. magical things they are! a fort, a spaceship, or even … a computer!

this was back in the day, you have to remember, and my mom worked for hofmann laroche (she was also a good customer, but that’s another decade entirely) and she would take me to work with her and i’d get to see the computer room — a big room full of big machines, refrigerator size, mit der blinkenlights and all, and the big tape reel thingys going back and forth. i was dazzled.

so when i was about 10ish my mom left one of those heated coil defrosters on in the freezer, and i was supposed to turn it off and … anyway, we got a new fridge. and such a box it came in!

another thing my mom would do was bring home stacks and stacks of used computer punch cards (which i just loved), so i thought i would make the fridge box a computer and *i* would be its brain! i painted it with house paint, with big reels and lots of rows of lights (dots) and stuff. and i cut a slot in the front, so you could write your question on a card and drop it in, and i’d answer it and spit it back out. ok, i was a weird kid.

the first time my son got a big box, was when chris’s mom still lived here. kurtwood was entranced by it, and we turned it into a little house with doors and windows, and he and kitty played and played. i rhapsodized about my first truly epic box, and she said, ‘funny, i don’t remember playing with boxes when i was a kid’ and i thought, how awful. at first i figured, maybe they didn’t have them back then, but apparently they did. must have been a depression thing, people not buying a lot of appliances and whatnot.

anyway. do you remember your first box?

21 thoughts on “cardboard boxes!

  1. i do remember my first box. my parents got a new TV and let me have the box… it was perfect fort size. i painted the outside of it. i would close the flaps and then jump out like it was one of those big birthday cakes and scare the heck out of people.

    ahhhh those were the days. maybe that’s what’s wrong with me. i just need a new box. 🙂

  2. I am actually hoping to get my first big box this Christmas! I’m giving my cousin Sarah a big screen TV for her new bedroom in the house addition, and I plan on playing in the box. My former Daddy Dearest never had boxes around. Everything was delivered and setup taking the boxes away. WWWWWWAAAAAAA no boxes. But me getting boxes this Christmas!

  3. When I was little, my dad used to run a trailer park. He would buy toilet paper for the restrooms there by the case load… came in a huge cardboard box. I can’t remember what I actually did with those boxes….I just know they didn’t last long, because I was always asking, “when are you going to buy more toilet paper??!!” There was usually a new box every month or so…..but it seemed like I had to wait an eternity for the next toilet paper purchase! Life was so simple then!

  4. i remember making rooms for my Barbie dolls and stuffed animals. little toss pillows were beds and couches. i “borrowed” a jewelry chest of my mum’s to use as a dresser for Barbie, et al.

    i went as far as to get scraps of cloth from my mum to make curtains for the windows i cut out. they needed the privacy – Barbie and the animals got into all sorts of naughty situations.

    hey, i was precocious. what can i say? ;-P

  5. my barbies were pretty crazy too. but not with animals. i remember some hot threesomes, but they were all barbies. and a ken.

  6. well, the problem was my mum was anti-Barbie. my “Barbie” was actually a psuedo-Barbie. i bought it and her clothes with my own money. Mum made sure i knew she didn’t approve. (issues? i have no issues!) anyway – i only had the one doll. stuffed animals had to suffice for my twisted fairy tales.

  7. Ooo, boxes.

    First box: refrigerator box filched from the curb down the street, age 5. Mom made me wait until she sprayed the whole damned thing with Lysol because you just never know what kind of cooties the neighbors have or whether they’ve wiped snot on their cardboard box. My mother is a little paranoid.

    That box was a castle, a submarine, an igloo, a fort, and several other things before it finally disintegrated to such a degree that it was forcibly retired from service.

    Clearly, I need a refrigerator box to play with now.

  8. nothing to do with my first box (which i don’t remember and i feel cheated out of a childhood memory now 🙂 but in case u don’t already know, your penguin skin is broken in ie6…the sidebar content doesn’t start until the bottom of the last blog post.

  9. sadly, i don’t remember boxes as a youth, but our girls have had many great moments with the boxes we’ve given them! i could comment further about the latest one, but it’s too long and i’m afraid it would become the size of a post, instead of a comment! (kind of like this is becoming right now!)

    anyway, i hope bobby drops you a comment about the “punch cards”. he has told me about cool times he had with his dad and the cards from his dad’s work and …. wait, i’ll stop now and he can tell it if he wants!

    hope you are having a great day, kd!

  10. We got our first box when my mom got a new dryer when I was about 7. We didn’t make it into a fort or anything (forts were made at our house with sheets and clothespins draped from the top of the bunk beds). We took turns rolling down the hill in our box. It lasted maybe 3 days before it was completely crumpled…. Ahh, the memories!

  11. I never had a great big box. However, my sister and I used to use my mom’s jewelry boxes and any other small boxes we could find for our Barbie furniture. We’d make Barbie couches and TV’s. We also used my mom’s pumps for their convertibles. hee. Good times.

  12. ahhh…punchcards.

    yep. amazing what can be taken for granted now.

    you know what also was fun, was taking that huge-ass greenbar printer paper, making equally giant paper airplanes and flying them off the roof of the riverside county building (then the largest building in reeferside). hoot

  13. I love boxes – I can’t get enough of them now. Thanks to the glories ofpaper mache I build all sorts of things out of boxe4s.

    And you rock muchly for the Wiki link.

    BTW, I’m typing blind right now – for some reason I can’t see what I’m commenting until I click outside of this box. And then I can’t edit what I’ve typoed.

    What AM I doing wrong???
    It’s a Mac thing, isn’t it?

    Hmm. Now I can’t see some of the hooha I know I just typed.

  14. I never had a box, but a sofa with decent cushions make a good boat lost at sea. My sister and I would take the 4 cushions, make two covered areas on the couch, and the uncovored, cushionless areas would be the top of the boat. If we got off the boat or touched the carpet or anything, the sharks would eat us and we would be dead. We’d play that for hours. If only I was so easily entertained now.

  15. Do I remember my first box??? Of course I do. My brother and I played in the box for a new hot water heater. We turned it into our “clubhouse” and I think we kept that box for about 5 months, then the rains came. *sniff*

  16. *sigh* i only wish i had pictures of that box. only in my mind, and those are very fuzzy with age.

    speaking of pictures, one of these days i seriously need to archive the stuff i have on my hard drive — it scares me that i’ve recorded so much on just digital media. it’s fine now but years from now? what if the .jpg format goes obsolete?

    ooh. a tangent.

  17. There are too many jpegs out there for someone not to write a jpeg-to-something-else converter. I’ll do it (but only if I have too).

  18. I have lots of memories of boxes (when you’re in a military family you’re always moving, so the first week or so after you get to the new place you have lots of boxes to play with), but my best fort was in a garage in Westwood; we had no car at the time, so it was all mine.

  19. I used to play with individual cereal boxes. I folded them so that they looked like a stand where you put 5 or 10 cents down on a number, and the wheel spins. If your number comes out, you win a stuffed animal. Like the ones on a boardwalk.
    Such memories. Thanks for taking me back….

  20. It wasn’t my first box, but I made a computer too. With punch cards my dad brought home. Two paper plates for the reels, red yarn for the tape. That part didn’t work too well, but my brother punched the buttons I’d painted on the box, ask a question, and I’d make a whole bunch of weird noises & then slip the answer out through a slit in the box. I think it was a water heater box, or maybe from the dryer. Fun.

    Boxes are also cool, for sliding down hills or the slide at Cordonices Park in Berkeley. They make good Halloween costumes, too. How many kids were Rubik’s cubes at your school?

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