Return of the Jedi School Folders from 1983

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I began 7th grade in 1985, and for the first time that year I was required to buy six different folders (one for each of my classes). Even though the film had been out for a couple of years by that point in time, I was still a big fan of Return of the Jedi in 1985. As part of my “back to school” supplies that year, my mom bought me these folders. Originally there were six and it looks like I’m missing one (I think there was one with a B-Wing on it). While digging through a tub of “Star Wars stuff” out in my garage, I found these over the weekend.

The “Speeder Bike” folder is in the worst condition of the remaining five (as the Biker Scouts have always been my favorite). Each of the folders have price tags from Target on them for 49 cents. I’m not sure if that was the original price or, if by 1985, they had made it to the discount bin. I also seem to remember having a couple of spiral notebooks with matching covers around that same time.

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Pencil Fighting

Pencil Fighting

What happens when middle school boys have spare pencils and too much time at the bus stop? Pencil Fighting.

Watch Pencil Fighting in Action

Pencil fighting was huge during my sixth and seventh grade years of school. Two boys would face off, each with his chosen pencil in hand. They would then proceed to trade blows. One would hold his pencil flat by the ends and the other would strike it with his own pencil, then they’d switch. This continued until one boy’s pencil was broke in two. It was a primitive and unnecessarily destructive game, and yet we devoted a lot of time to mastering it. We developed and perfected techniques: the snap off the finger to give the strike maximum velocity, the added torque of the holding hand, and the “Cherry chop”, a snapless hits which was often outlawed.

We also developed some specialized equipment. You could pull your pencil eraser out of the top and then crush the metal ring until it became a blade. With this blade you could chip away at your opponent’s pencil. The best guys could take out chunks of wood with each strike, stripping the opponent’s pencil down to the lead. And we learned to select the right pencil. The yellow banana wood pencils were useless and would break with one or two strikes, while coated pencils were almost indestructible.

Pencil Fighting

The girls thought all this was stupid, of course, and when you looked at the growing number of broken pencils in my Trapper Keeper, you almost had to agree. And yet it was tons of fun. Making a guy sacrifice one of his favorite pencils. Trying to get in one last strike with a severely damaged pencil without breaking it. Finally breaking through your opponent’s pencil and feeling the thrill of victory. Oh yeah. It was tons of fun. You just had to be sure never to do it with your Atari pencils.