As I get ready to jet off to visit my two smart, beautiful children this weekend (they only paid me a little to say that), I realize how different packing has become since I was a wee miss back in the 60’s. For one thing the very thing I pack my stuff in has evolved and changed over 5 decades (holy crap that’s a long time!).
My father used to always call our suitcases, grips. He would yell to my mother, “Are the grips ready to go in the car?”. Personally that word always put me in mind of some sort of disease, but my father was a child of the depression and that’s what he called luggage then and continued to do so for the rest of his life. For many years my dad used an old, hard, leather grip with shiny, gold latches. It was really very attractive but it wasn’t very easy to cram a lot of extra stuff in. Maybe that’s why in old movies, someone always had to sit on the suitcase to get it to shut while someone else clicks the latches in place!
One big change in traveling bags has been the development of soft sided luggage. It certainly has made the suitcase more malleable and able to fit a lot more stuff, the only problem being when these overstuffed bags are trying to be shoved into the overhead bin.
But I truly think the biggest innovention in luggage design was the addition of wheels. Such a simple thing with so much benefit that you wonder why no one thought of it before! I can remember the family struggling with the suitcases. My mother and I both having little upper body strength, gripping the handles of our bags with two hands, and wrestling to move them even a short distance. This is usually why my dad was loading the grips in the car! Even when my kids were little I can remember Nanook wrenching his back as he lugged all the suitcases onto a train, while I was trying to corral the kids to find their seats. That’s not that long ago!
So yes packing for vacation has become simpler, and I no longer need someone to help me with my luggage, but I do need someone to invent a universal gadget plug,