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Happiness is...

Finding Your Dream Peanuts Memorabilia

By Spillda RadnerPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
Armored Luggage vintage Peanuts steamer trunk in green

Spring is resale season in my neighborhood, reaching an exceedingly high watermark in 2016. My best friend Natalie and I had been running interference each time we saw garage and estate sales popping up around us, because our husbands had been bitten by the shopping bug. Those days, there was just no telling what they would show up with after one of their mid-day forays through our departed neighbors’ former treasures.

Unfortunately for Natalie and I, the increasing piles of “treasure” stacking up in our backyards had put Natalie and I both on a first-name basis with our local code compliance officers.

And yet, when I got a call from Natalie on one especially glorious Saturday, my curiosity beat out my apprehension (and not just because she was actually calling versus texting). She was chaperoning her husband Ben at the largest weekend sale in our area, hoping that would be enough to reign him in.

As it turns out, the biggest purchase of the day was mine: underneath stacks of Time magazines and slightly musty linens, she spotted a verdant Peanuts steamer trunk in the corner of a room. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing on the other line.

“Can you send me pictures??” I asked, breathless from excitement and the heavy-duty yardwork I was in the middle of.

Once I laid eyes on it, I knew it had to be mine. The whole Peanuts gang was featured on top, with the words “Happiness is…” ringing the lid. Well, to this gal, happiness is a unique Peanuts find in the wild that I can call my own! I called her back and begged her to grab it for me. I had no cash, smelled like a goat from working outside all morning, and the sale was closing in an hour. Thankfully, she agreed!

After scouring the Internet, I learned that this trunk was made by Armored Luggage in the 1970s. They made a series of steamer trunks with Peanuts themes. This one has Snoopy and Woodstock doing their signature happy dance on the face, and the inside is lined with black and white cartoon images of Snoopy in various pursuits—playing sports, flying his doghouse plane as the World War I Flying Ace, and posing as Joe Cool.

The trunk was in great condition, based on what I’ve learned. There is slight discoloration on the lining paper, it looks like water damage (a common issue, apparently), and the metal edges have seen some wear. Still, very few remaining Peanuts steamer trunks have made it this far without more dents and dings. I paid $40 for it, which seems to be the very lowest price to expect for this bit of memorabilia. In terrific condition, they have gone for $250!

…Mine won’t be resold. Not now or ever if I can help it. I might even leave very specific instructions in my will for its future bequeathment! That being said, it wouldn’t fetch the highest dollar amount at this point, anyway. The middle latch had an unfortunate incident with a well-meaning family member trying to overstuff the trunk in a quick attempt to straighten up the room before company came over once. Regardless, to me it is priceless.

My precious Peanuts steamer trunk has been prominently displayed in my living room ever since it arrived at my doorstep. It houses my favorite baby clothes my girls once wore, letters from friends and family, and crafts the girls have made through the years. It will eventually be stuffed full of childhood artifacts as they grow a little bit more each time a memory is placed inside. Happiness isn’t just my thrill at owning this little slice of vintage Peanuts collectible merch, but also having a vessel that brings me so much joy being filled with precious, fleeting blinks of time. It’s a constant reminder to always be open to unexpected joy, and when you find it, savor it as long as possible.

pop culture

About the Creator

Spillda Radner

Educator (Home and Abroad), Curriculum Developer, Aquarian Expositor, Loud-Talkin' Opinion-Haver, Karaoke Provocateur, M.Ed., Rookie Roller Derbyist

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