A few years ago, my father gave me a trunk that had been gathering dust in his storage shed.
“I think this is yours,” he said. I wasn’t sure, but I took it because I’m a pack rat and even if it wasn’t mine, doubtless there was something interesting inside.
And there was! Under my entire childhood collection of ElfQuest comics (!!!), I found a relic of my high school theater days — a vintage CABOODLES makeup case. It still had two yellow post-its taped onto the top that said “Ariel’s Makeup” and “Rum Tum Tugger! CATS,” relics from the last high school play I was in. (Assuming you ignore Jesus Christ Superstar, which I dropped out of because I had beef with the director and felt the whole show was miscast. YOU SHALL NEVER UNDERSTAND THE DEPTH OF MY ANGST, HIGH SCHOOL THEATER DIRECTOR.)
If you are a woman of a certain age, you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say CABOODLES. If you are not, here’s the short explanation: Caboodles were essentially tackleboxes for girls. They were just like tackleboxes except for they had rounded edges, often a built-in mirror, and were the most obnoxious colors of pink and turquoise and purple. Instead of tackle, you filled them with makeup.
After 14 years of dormancy, in the mid ’00s the Caboodles box went into heavy rotation as my festival makeup box. Who knew I had so many sparkly eye shadows? And who knew how well they all fit into the Caboodles’ compartments? Then, I shifted its use over to being a cash box for the Salon of Shame, the diary-reading series I produced for many years. It got used again just last month as the cash box at the Seattle Lovesick Expo.
The Caboodle is the most useful late ’80s relic ever.