Thursday, October 06, 2005

School Lunch

I brought my lunch to work the other day. I put a can of tuna in the bread bag with the last two pieces of bread.

This was how I use to carry my lunch to school.
My mom would make us peanut butter and jelly, some chips or cookies and piece of fruit. She would use left over bread bags as out lunch bag. I kind of recall maybe having a “Bigfoot and Wildboy” lunchbox or maybe it was a super friends lunchbox (with Zan and Jana and Gleek not Wendy and Marvin) in 2nd or 3rd grade. But by 4th and 5th grade, most of my lunches were packed in Wonderbread bags.

I remember being mortified at the fact that while other kids had the typical brown paper bags I was carrying a big semi-see through red, yellow and blue polka dotted bag weighed down at the bottom with an apple. This always bothered me because the length of the bag was about half my height so usually I would be dragging it. The other thought that always got me was, the fact that we would use the old bread bags to put on our feet in rainy or snowy weather. The bags would make our boots slide on easier as well as keep our feet dry. I don’t recall if my lunches ever had a feet smell to them but the thought sometimes made me lose my appetite.

While sitting in the cafeteria I would sit and watch other kids display their cool bags or “Dukes of Hazard” lunchboxes. They would display (yes display is what it felt like at the time) such awesome lunches. Snack Pak pudding snacks. Tiny bags of chips from the actual manufacturers. Store bought sandwiches. Cans of soda. Man I would kill for that.

I would try to empty the contents of the bag (which would be crushed by lunchtime by the weight of the fruit) as quickly as I could so the other kids would not see the bag itself. Spread out on the table would be the PB& J in a sandwich bag, the piece of fruit, and usually a sandwich bag of chips or crackers (unless my dad made lunch then the chips would just be thrown in the bread bag loose) a piece of paper, a penny and a nickel. I would take the 6 cents and buy milk.

Of course the trading would commence. No one ever wanted to trade with me. Seriously why would you trade a chocolate pudding cup for pretzel crumbs? Of course there was always the ribbing that I never would have anything good to trade; that my lunch stunk. They would joke that I shouldn’t eat it all because whatever was left over I had to give to my younger brother so he would have lunch (this of course was not the case).

As the other kids would flaunt their candy bars and prepackaged goods, they would say things like “I bet you wish you had pudding.” or “Ooooh, look I got a Hershey bar.” ,I would reach for the piece of paper that was with my lunch. I would open it and it would read:

Billy,
Have a nice day at school.
I love you.

Mom

I would smile and look at the kids at the table and I would say, “Sure you got chocolate pudding but my mom loves me.” And that would shut them up. Until the next day.

22 comments:

Meegs said...

I too always had the I love you note in my lunch, and same for me, it was most often the best part. I definitely miss that now (even though I have better lunches).

Candace said...

SO nice. I send notes to my son in his lunchbox, when he packs.

My husband tells me that they, too, put sandwich bags on their feet in snowy weather. Actually, it sounds like a pretty good idea!

judypatooote said...

I can't stop laughing....this was such a funny post....thinking back to when my oldest daughter was in school, my husband sliced a piece of fells naptha soap and put it in between 2 peices of bread.....he use to always put surprises in her lunch....I would pack them, and he would always sneak something strange in the bag.....but she talks about it still....a memory... GREAT POST!

kalki said...

Great post! I guess I was lucky - I had a cool Barbie lunchbox and Lunchables (yum) AND a note. Yes, I was an absolute spoiled brat.

lehighmary said...

I have tears in my eyes. This was the sweetest story.

No_Newz said...

Grade school flashbacks man! You know my family was similar to yours, lots of kids, little money, lots of love. One time Snack Pac Pudding went on sale. I got to take one in my lunch and I still had my Mom's note. So I for one day, was on top of the world. Or at least on top of the lunch room roof. Until I licked that metal lid and cut my tongue wide open. And yes, it was totally worth it!
Thanks for the flashbacks Bill.
Lois Lane

Jewl said...

Awww, that should make your mom feel much better... :)

Kari said...

Awww, too sweet...

I hope you've told your mom this story.

Stacie said...

OMG! I had to wear those darn bags on my feet too! I thought my mom was nuts for making us wear them. I will have to admit though, my feet were always dry when I got to school! Great post! Stacie

b said...

Funny post.

WOW, Wendy and Marvin (and Wonder Dog) only lasted one season...you really know your stuff.

My mom got on this kosher kick while I was in grade school (we are not jewish) packing bagels, lox, matzah, gefilte. Not great trading fodder in Detroit Mich.

As luck would have it we moved to Long Island (predominantly jewish) and the kosher well dried up. It's a pity, the market was ripe.

lawnwhisperer said...

You got a note in your lunch?!!?

No_Newz said...

Pssst... lawnwhisperer, you knew Billy was Mommy's favorite all along. Didn't you? This information only confirms it. (Lois hands lawnwhisperer a tissue)
Hey Bill, I hope you don't mind but I linked to this story today.
Happy weekend!
Lois Lane

kimmyk said...

i remember eating my brown bag lunches...my peanut butter and jelly was ALWAYS smushed together so much the grape jelly was seeping out the middle of the bread and it would be warm from sitting there all day in that brown bag because i didnt have a nice lunchbox to keep it cool.
to this day-i love pb and j sammich's that are warm and squishy.
i dont think i ever got a note though. WTF.

and you weren't alone with the red blue and yellow polka dot shoe covers-must have been the time.

Ern said...

I used to get boring lunches too, because my mom was a total health nut. Until about 5th grade. Then she cracked and started sending me Nutty Bars. :)

SoozieQ said...

That is a really cool post William! I laughed out loud a few times!

I'm not trying to brag, but I had a CHiPs (you know Erik Estrada and Jon...I have no idea what his real name is) lunch box and I used to get Chocodiles (chocolate covered twinkies) in my lunch AND a note from my Mom professing her love.

So um....would you have been my friend or resented me if we grew up together?

Tammy said...

So very sweet.

I love the fact that dad would just throw the chips in the bottom of the bag!

Effie said...

we went home for lunch every day and sometimes I would be jealous of the kids who brought their lunch in...of course, that meant my lunch box never wore out and whenever I had to bring a lunch to school I'd bring it in my Holly Hobbie lunch pail--til I was in Grade 7!!!

spirtswoosh said...

We always used bread bags growing up as well. One trick my parents did was to pop our popcorn (the old fashioned way) and put it in bread bags for us kids when we went to the drive in theater. Thanks for reminding me of it.

spirtswoosh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mrtl said...

Is this damage control for the last Mom post?

We had plain paper bags, too, but I never felt inferior about them. My mom, after all, was the Cookie lady and neighborhood kool-aid/cocoa mom.

Susie said...

I got sandwich bags with crackers and no-name cookies or chips. My tuna sandwich was often flatter than a pancake by the time I got to it. I feel guilty when I think of the stuffI didn't eat and threw away knowing it was probably hard for my parents to buy it the first place. Great post Bill!

Susie said...

Heart-warming and funny. Packing lunches with notes -- one "I love you" type message and one joke per day -- is one of the things that made me feel I was really a mom. That and wiping projectile puke off the wall :)