When I was in graduate school, we were assigned the task of creating a prop box. I hit the thrift shops looking for the perfect suitcase. It made sense to me that a journey of the imagination should have a suitcase suitable for the journey. I wanted a suitcase from my childhood. Those leather, stitched, and with a trunk-like quality kind. I wanted brass clasps, hinging to open. I found one so, so perfect. I ripped out the lining and replaced it with a vintage fabric showing travel postcards and bought vintage luggage tags from Dover. The first time I introduced it was quite formal since it was part of my school work with a corresponding lesson plan, literature connection, and filled with treasures collected from here and there. I read the books that set the dramatic play session up and then brought the children into the Imagination Station for the big reveal. I remember exactly the click of opening clasps and the way the children fairly leapt into the case to pull the ropes, quilts, maps, and aprons from the suitcase.
Within minutes every single thing in the case was employed and put to good use...ropes were tied to horses, calicos were covering the children from head to toe, and quilts were wrapping the babies. The only thing left to do was hop on board the wagon to head west with the now empty, but still very, very important suitcase.
Since that time, the suitcase has served many purposes. Its stickers are a little frayed and some are missing altogether. The lining is holding up, which is interesting considering how many things and people have been carried and perched inside the suitcase.
Over seven years of adventures -- which don't even include the adventures the suitcase had even before I found it at the thrift shop -- and it should have a good many years in it still!