Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Vintage Sanrio pencils from 80s trigger nostalgia

When I was a child in the 1980s, Sanrio was a big deal in Hawaii. HUGE. If a girl didn’t have the super cool Hello Kitty & Friends pencils, erasers, stickers, and pencil boxes, she was just not hip.

My mother would take me to Daiea, the Sanrio Store in Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Longs, and other places I’ve now forgotten, as a treat now and again. 

My mechanical pencils

Oh, how I loved my mechanical pencils and lead pencils. Some of those lead pencils were scented. I saved the lead ones and wouldn’t sharpen them. I just stared at them in their special pencil cup.

I used the mechanical pencils and was very careful to keep them in their Sanrio pencil case. I was always a careful child who didn’t lose or damage her items, so I never lost any of my mechanical pencils that I took to school.

At my collector’s zenith, I had about three dozen lead pencils and a dozen mechanical ones. WINNING!

Over the years, incorporated the mechanical pencils into my regular office use. They are still functional and cute.

The lead ones, I still kept in my special pencil cup on my desk, which followed me from residence to residence. Crazy, I know. I’m not really a collector except for that.

Life got a little messy after I had a baby ten years ago. Not in a bad way, but in that tired-disrupted-scattered way that motherhood is when you’re constantly pulled in ten different directions for your own AND NOW your parenting obligations.

I have been in the same house now for 12 years and I LOST THE LEAD PENCILS in the last eight years. I remember the last time I saw it, it was here in my home office, but where did I put them and why? Grr.

I was going to gift them to my daughter when she was old enough to appreciate them and take care of them, but I can’t find the lead pencils and it’s making me crazy. However, I did round up a few mechanical ones, and I proudly gifted it to her as if I was handing over the crown for all the lands in the realm.

“Do you like these?” I asked with a smile. Oh, it makes me giddy to handle the Very Special Sanrio Pencils. I feel ten again.

“Sure!” she said. We talked about which were my favorites. I like the sparkle blue one with the rainbow rings. My friends and I used to take it apart and re-order the ring colors. 

“DON’T LOSE THESE! THESE ARE OVER 30 YEARS OLD!” I warned. “YOU CAN’T GET THEM ANYMORE!” It is a sign of my true love for Olivia that I would part with my pencils and trust her to care for them. 

Of course, such a meaningful gift had to have a correspondingly exceptional pencil case. Except, funny thing, the kids nowadays aren’t really into Sanrio. It’s just the moms. 

Olivia is into completely other brands and she actually likes colorful items. (Her other pencil case is gold, from Kipling.) But this, this is the dedicated Sanrio pencil holder. 

ZIPIT’s Colorz Box. Courtesy: ZIPIT

She picked out a ZIPIT’s Colorz Box bursting with bold colors and striking patterns. It’s a hard-shell case that can be zipped up and put in the washing machine on the gentle cycle!

It’s great that it holds up to 60 pens and pencils! However, I now feel the pressure to find those dang lead pencils that are hiding themselves in my house somewhere.

What are your memories of Sanrio and school? Help me remember – where else were these products sold on Oahu? Do you recognize any of my pictured pencils?

Oh, the 80s. I miss you.

3 thoughts on “Vintage Sanrio pencils from 80s trigger nostalgia

  • My sister was all for the Sanrio stores and Hello Kitty stuff when I was growing up.

    I too miss the ’80s (though I was born in ’88). That was when all the good stuff on TV was on, too — and when Wheel of Fortune was in its golden years w/ prizes for the home mostly :). Not to mention that $25K was a gold mine, and that everything was so cheap and inexpensive as opposed to today’s food prices. That’s what I miss about the ’80s.

    • Mathew – born in 88? You’re just a baby! LOL kidding. Sorta.

  • Ooh I lived on Oahu until I was 6. My older sister collected all kinds of cute Japanese items including pencil cases, pencils, and puffy stickers (she still has all of them) but no Sanrio. My sister never really got into Sanrio although she did like little twin stars but I did once we moved to San Francisco. I was obsessed with Sanrio and still have most of my collection. Do you remember the scented erasers? They smelled so good! I’m not sure why they stopped scenting them.

    I had a lot of Japanese friends growing up who had the cutest school supplies (not Sanrio) that they brought with them from Japan.

    By the way, I have the pink mechanical eraser on the far right and I remember seeing the other 3.


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