Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Did you eat a hot lunch at school, or did you brown bag it, like me?
Grades 1-12, almost every day, I'd open that little brown bag and find pretty much the same thing. My mother was not very imaginative. She would give me a piece of fruit, and a couple of cookies to go with the sandwich. But that sandwich was always the same unless and until I'd complain. Then she would give me a different kind of sandwich, the same every day, until I complained again. It would start with peanut butter. Every day - peanut butter. When I'd tell her I was tired of that, she'd start making me a spiced ham sandwich - every day. When I got tired of that, she was likely to go back to peanut butter, unless I got specific. Then maybe it was jelly for a while. Or cheese. When I made my own sandwiches at home I got creative, with various combinations. Mother never did that. And she always buttered the bread. Never mustard or mayo. Never lettuce. It was pretty boring. I used to envy the kids who got a hot lunch.
The only time I got money for a hot lunch was the day I was to be the narrator in a play. We were going to present the play twice that day to different audiences, and we were told to bring lunch money so that we could all eat together. That lunch was exciting! First of all, I got to go up to the counter with a tray and pick out what I wanted. Second, I ate split pea soup for the first time in my life. (I don't know why that particular event was so exciting, but it was.) And third, was the incident in the bathroom after lunch.
The play we were presenting was a period piece, and I got to wear a hoop skirt. When I went to the girls' room and into the cubicle, I didn't know what to do with that hoop. It was quite an adventure and took quite a long time to maneuver through the necessary motions. The teacher came in after me to find out what was taking so long, since I was expected back on stage. Between us, we managed to take care of the situation, and I hurried back to the performance, which was only slightly delayed.
The other kids I envied were the ones who rode the buses. I always lived just shy of a mile from school, so I had to walk. In the second and third grades I did get to ride a bus, because they were rebuilding our school, and we had to attend one farther away. But the thrill was gone when we found out we were also going to have to double up with the kids who went there, sitting two to a desk. But at least I found out what it was like to ride the bus. I was happy to go back to walking after that experience.