For years, I've repurposed old, metal lunchboxes. A Rambo lunchbox became a lunchbox dedicated to Great Women of Literature. Another honored Great Writers of the South. More recently, I've dedicated a lunchbox to The Donner Party. For a long time, though, I've had it in my head to create the ultimate Superhero Lunchbox...not a lunchbox featuring Batman or Wonder Woman, but a box honoring my real-life heroes.

I posed this challenge to a wide circle of friends: get your hands on a metal lunchbox, and put some thought into who or what your heroes are, and why. And then get to work making the Superhero Lunchbox of your dreams.

This online exhibit is the result of that challenge. I hope visitors to this site will find it fun and interesting, and maybe even inspiring. Lunchboxes are such useful things, and so many of us have fond memories of toting tuna sandwiches to school in our Partridge Family or Six Million Dollar Man lunchboxes. There seems to me to be no reason for us to outgrow this tradition of toting around our meals in metal boxes that say something about who we are, what we like, and what our values are. I know I've never outgrown it.

Start here, because it's what started it all for me, and work your way up. Enjoy. Leave some feedback. Make a lunchbox.

For a more detailed view, click on the individual images.

If you're moved to make a lunchbox of your own, and have it included in this exhibit, submissions are welcome. Get your hands on a metal lunchbox (no plastic, please) - you can buy a blank one from or repurpose an old one. Go to town. Choose your superhero, and and run with it. Photograph your finished lunchbox, write a few words about your subject, and send the photos and text to me at, with the words "Superhero Lunchbox" in the subject box.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Heidi Moore

My mom, Carol Offield, has led an amazing life as a powerful woman who has performed spectacular feats no one else could have.  I continue to be amazed by her daily.  

She has been a businesswoman, single parent, philanthropist, great friend, kind mother, bridge maven, and now she is a grandmother, too. 
She is unquestionably a phenomenal superheroine: It seems as though she stopped a speeding locomotive well over a hundred times when she interrupted what I was sure was the end of the world.  She soothed me with stories about what happened when she was my age, or about what happened to my grandma, or my dad.  Somehow the world, which had been barreling forward like a rocket at the speed of light at a target of complete destruction, suddenly was sailing uncomplicated in the breeze like a kite.  Then we could just laugh.  She said things like, “Stop worrying when you don’t have all the facts!” and I never listened, until I found myself repeating them to my students, hoping I could be half as smart as her.
It took the super-strength of a superheroine to be a single parent to two spirited children, particularly the demanding, devious, and difficult daughter I know I was.  
It was this super-strength, superheroine wisdom that gave her the good sense to make our childhood richer than any other kids I know: She was superheroine smart for reading aloud Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. books, instead of stuff like Stuart Little. Superheroine smart for letting us take lots of mental health days, so the other kids would have a chance to catch up.  Superheroine smart for going on strike, so we did the grocery shopping in primary school.  That was harder than doing it the standard way….and so much more fun.

Just like a superhero of stage and screen, she leapt tall buildings in a single bound when she solved the insolvable for me.  The superheroine trick that no one else’s mom could figure out was that she never did things for me.  She taught me how to do the tasks myself—beginning in kindergarten. My insolvable problem at the time was that I didn’t believe I belonged in kindergarten and wanted to advance to first grade.  So she set up a meeting for me to discuss it with the principal. Superheroine lessons, I guess. But that meeting (and, I’m sure, a bunch of background phonecalls I didn’t know about) solved an insurmountable problem. What kindergartener can talk her way into first grade? Me, it turned out, but not without her superheroine mom’s help!
My mom’s most amazing superheroine feat of solving the unsolvable and even time traveling occurred as she has cared for me as I have been sick.  The whole process of managing my illness and running a business would have caused someone else to give up.  I am so much work, and I am fully aware and very sorry that I do not always have the sunniest of dispositions.  She managed my difficult demands while living with me for several months while I was the sickest.  That’s a tall building if I ever heard it—running a business, as well as commuting back and forth between two cities.  On some days, that surely involved time travel.
Ultimately, it involved choosing between paying close attention to her business and paying close attention to me, and because I won, her business lost.  I just feel dreadfully guilty about that.  But I feel so, so eternally grateful for the gift I have had of her loving care, and her great company.
Superheroines don’t have much of a reputation for being very much fun to be around. This is one way she is nothing like a superheroine. In fact, she is great fun! We have had so much fun going around here and there and dreaming up schemes.  What a fantastic gift that has been to be with her.  
It is not surprising, then, that so many people in my life have met her and arrived at the same conclusion: Each, individually, has said the same thing:  “She’s an angel!”  So true.  A superheroine angel.  That’s what she is. I hope she is super-mortal because I never want to lose her!


  1. I love all the lunchboxes but the way you described your mom combined with your wonderful work is just really touching and beautiful. So glad I had a chance to get to learn about this snippet of your life.

  2. Wonderful! Both the lunchbox AND the essay are amazing!