There was a recent news story about airport terminal baggage theft. It seems to be so easy to walk up to the luggage carousel and lift a bag undetected. Not all airports have security guards at the exits, matching claim tickets to the bag in question.

They recommended using bright or unusual colors, since the popular black bags could be removed, unnoticed by the owner.  One reporter joked that might use your mother’s old Samsonites from the 1960’s.Sam

That would be mine. The set of 3 pieces were given to me by my parents as a high school graduation gift. They reinforced the message that all of us had heard since we were teenagers.

Eighteen and Out.

After high school, we were to be out of my parents’ home. It was college, or military service, our own business, whatever.

My father never had a role model in his own childhood; he lost his dad to mental illness and hospitalization after the Great Depression.

In spite of that, he married, had 6 children, became exhausted at the very idea that we would hang around beyond the time that was necessary.

When he lost my mother to cancer, there were still 3 teenagers living at home who might have helped him through the adjustment and grief. They were given the same message.

“I’ve raised you. Good bye”.

It was never said aloud in those words, but the intent was clear. We all complied.

He was alone for a few years when he found and married a lady 20 years his junior, a working mother of 2 grown children.

I kept the 3 pieces of blue Samsonite for much longer than I needed. They were heavy, durable, the inside liners were a bit torn and stained, but they survived many decades of use and  abuse.

I kept them as a reminder of the independent spirit that was encouraged, even forced upon us, from a very young age.

This entry was posted in Childhood, Family, home and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Samsonite

  1. Jim says:

    hey, that luggage set is great! it was made a lot better than what they are selling now.

  2. Victo Dolore says:

    I remember my other’s set. She still has it, too, in that exact same color…

  3. Erika Kind says:

    I tough lesson to learn but still a good one for independency. I got a red set of samsonite suitcases (3 sizes and a beauty case) from my parents. But I guess that was even after I was moved out.

  4. Yeah, my mom had a similar strategy – she got me a job at Bell then got me married and out of her house as soon as she could. No complaint from me – I was “ready” to be gone. 🙂

    These days, husband and I been spending a lot of time in flea markets and antique malls… suitcase sets like your aqua Samsonite demand reasonable prices as mid-century modern artifacts.

  5. George says:

    Lol..we had that same exact set. You couldn’t kill them. But now they spin and roll and do tricks for you if you ask. Great photo. I hated getting rid of them.

  6. Same story here, Van (without the luggage). HS and your on your own – see ya!. We tie colorful ribbons to our bags when traveling. There’s no confusing the the luggage with the hot pink polka dots and cat faces dandling from the handle. 🙂

  7. Nurse Kelly says:

    I was raised with that “spirit” as well. But now, due to various reasons, so many of my friends’ kids are moving back home! Don’t really know if I would like that or not, once they had moved out…

    • My son did that, and is still trying to recover from being downsized. But so many come home with spouses/babies. There is a whole generation of grandparents doing the child-rearing. That’s so much harder.

      • Nurse Kelly says:

        I tell my kids they will always have a home no matter what. But yes, that would really be tough. We’ve really been enjoying extra freedom with 2 teenagers now. I feel like I’ve earned it!

  8. LaVagabonde says:

    Love that luggage set. And your reason for hanging on to it. Although it must have been a painful memory to carry around.

  9. They don’t make things to last like that anymore. I am always perplexed at the idea of children wanting to live with their parents well into adulthood. But I guess they don’t make children the way they used to either.

    • It’s a very different world, and a troubling economy. So many young (and not so young) college graduates are underemployed.That degree is expensive, and no longer guarantees a career.

  10. Amy says:

    My dad had the same philosophy and in many ways I am glad because it did help me learn to stand on my own two feet. We had the exact same luggage too. They don’t make it like that any more!

  11. A.PROMPTreply says:

    Oh, my mother had that luggage! How funny to see it on here now. We gave our oldest son luggage when he graduated,…..I thought it was pretty smart thing to do…didn’t realize the message I was sending!

  12. Silver Threading says:

    Oh, the memories. I love your teal colored ones. Mine were black. Only one and my foster mother drove me to the airport to board the plane to go into the Air Force. I was 18, and it was 1976. 😀

  13. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    A great story.. parents and their well intended heavy handed hints about time to leave home!! There was a rule in our house if you lived there you paid 25% of whatever you earned towards the housekeeping. It was an excellent idea although I was not quite sure at age 14 when I had my weekend job and had to hand over 5 shillings.. I seem to remember asking that since I was not getting pocket money any more which was 1 shilling I could get away with giving them only 4 shillings.. That did not end well.. How did you get turfed out of the nest? Respond to Van after you have read her story.. great gift!

  14. gillswriting says:

    ha my set is red and still used! For storage now though whilst I am on my travels with newer lightweight versions!!!! Great story, thanks for sharing x

  15. C.E.Robinson says:

    Van, how did I miss out on pretty blue luggage? My one bag was dull brown, and no name brand! After graduating nursing school, it was a move into marriage! Guess I missed out on the out of the house by 18 rule. At that point Mom was a single parent, Dad had left! Don’t think she said a happy good-bye to me! Think independence was expected in my day. Job by age 12, buy your own clothes, and pick a useful career, teacher, secretary or nurse. Yep, I complied! And it all worked out well in the end! Christine

  16. Pingback: Episode 448: Free-For-All Friday #23 | Edwina's Episodes

  17. amommasview says:

    If only they would be lighter… I had some too… the color was not so nice but they traveled a fair bit with me. Eventually became too heavy and then with the TSA locks required for trips to the US there was a new issue popping up suddenly.

  18. joey says:

    The Samsonite toiletry cases are highly desired items at thrift shops.

    We have a six-month policy. Be in school or be out in six months. None of that living at 21 like you lived at 12 😉

    • The 21 vs. 12 concept…I really like that one. My children knew about the policy I grew up with, but I assured them, I was not about to enforce it the same way. They did not take advantage. Thanks, Joey. ☺

  19. markbialczak says:

    Interesting concepts within this, Van. One, your dad was a complex piece of work, as we’ve discussed. I’m glad you took the fierce independence component of his kick out of the door … Lesser stock may have developed a complex about the boot. I left our house of my own volition, they divorced and sold the house, each remarried … Leaving me so glad I’d chosen independence on my own as I watched my younger sisters’ upheaval. Two, of we four travelers to Denver this past Family Reunion trip, my dear wife Karen and I both have distinctive luggage and immediately knew the bags on the carousel were ours. Daughter Elisabeth and boyfriend George Three had to check the tags to make sure theirs were, indeed, theirs. 🙂

    • You seem to be proving the experts theory on that baggage color, Mark. And yes..coming from immigrants who left their country independently..I’d give some credit to the gene pool, but a lot to my dad’s spirit. He did us a favor. ☺

  20. lbeth1950 says:

    Wonderful story. We got the same deal without the luggage, but I was very anxious to get own my own. Reblogging.

  21. lbeth1950 says:

    Reblogged this on Nutsrok and commented:
    Reblog from Vanbytheriver

  22. OyiaBrown says:

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  23. megdekorne says:

    Van , Wow ! I too had a set ! ( I wrote about it too and gave ” Sammy ” the baby blue samsonite , a voice and all human characteristics ) how did I miss all these stunning posts of yours ? I’m going to my settings right now ( I bought a new iPad recently and this could be the problem ) …I love your writings …..hugs , megxxx

  24. nimi naren says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed every word in this. Superlative! It’s evoked so many memories

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