Back to School (Part 3)

School lunches. I loved them!  Chalk it up to the fact that we never went out to eat when I was a kid.  So eating lunch at school was like going out to eat!



I seldom packed my lunch.   All we had was wax paper to wrap things in and that didn’t keep things very fresh.  We had no freezer packs to keep anything cold.  So that pretty much limited the options to Peanut Butter Sandwiches.   I did have a friend who liked Butter and Brown Sugar Sandwiches, but my mom would have none of that.  Some kids actually packed their lunch in a brown paper bag.  I did have a square green metal lunch box with a thermos. But if you dropped the thermos- just once-  it broke.

In the cafeteria,  it cost a quarter for a lunch and that included milk in a glass milk bottle.  The bottle had a tiny tab with a hole in it that you pulled up and stuck your paper straw in.  Once in awhile someone dropped their milk bottle and it broke!  But you never got in trouble.  Someone from the kitchen just came out and swept up the glass and mopped up the spilled milk.  When we first started school we even had a milk break in the mornings.  The janitor would set a wire basket full of milk just outside our classroom door. We would all listen for the sound of the glass milk bottles rattling outside the door.  Just like feeding time at the zoo! Sometimes our teacher would bring graham crackers to eat with our milk.

If there was  enough money, I would buy a meal ticket that lasted the whole week.  I would present it to the cashier at the end of the lunch line and she would punch a hole in the day of the week.  I had to keep track of my own meal ticket.  If I lost it….. it  was my responsibility.  Even in the second grade!  Mom would send my money to school with me tied tightly  in the corner of a handkerchief.    She would tie that money so tight in the corner of the hankie, that it took me forever to get it untied.

School lunches were delicious.  We had creamed rice… It was so sweet and good and I have not to this day found a recipe for it.  We had cornbread and beans with little glass pitchers of syrup sitting on each table.  And when we used all the syrup and asked for more., they gave it to us!  We had tomato soup and peanut butter sandwiches… what a wonderful combination!   We had chicken and noodle soup, too.  It was a hard decision.

In junior high school, the teachers decided we were too noisy in the cafeteria.  So they gave us assigned seats.  Boy were we mad!  We were so upset we decided to go on strike.   We all decided that on Monday everyone in the junior high school would pack their lunch in protest of assigned seats,  And we had a pretty good turnout.  I don’t remember all the details but I remember that in a couple of days we no longer had assigned seats!  I remembered that when I was a teacher, too.   I always felt that lunch  time should be a social time.

More adventures to follow…


About Life in the 50's and beyond...

Welcome to Life in the 50's and 60's and beyond .... where I write about my childhood memories, music of the 60's and about life in the country. I am a mother, grandmother, farmer's wife, business owner, and retired teacher.
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7 Responses to Back to School (Part 3)

  1. Coming East says:

    I started school in 1953, so my memories are similar, but our old brick school did not have a cafeteria. We all had to bring our lunches and eat in our classrooms or on the playground. I always brought a balogna sandwich on Wonder Bread with yellow mustard. It was my favorite. We didn’t have glass milk bottles at school. Milk in wax-lined carboard cartons was delivered in wire crates to the classroom. The milkman always set the crate on the radiator, and by the time we had our snack (graham crackers), the milk was lukewarm and tasted like wax.


  2. My friend corrected me…. lunches were 20 cents per day and you could get a meal ticket for $1.00 a week!


  3. I had a lunch pail that looked like a barn, and in grade 4 I took mustard sandwiches to school – my mother thought I was crazy


  4. Amy says:

    I remember the milk breaks, but our teacher would send two people to go and get the crate with the milk. I remember lunch being 20 cents,but I could be wrong. And oh yes do I remember the strike in junior high! We hated sitting in assigned seats, but if you packed your lunch you got to go to the gym to eat. So we all packed for a couple of days and voila, away went the assigned seating.I hated my milk but someone was always willing to trade for it. Usually it was the spinach, since I really liked it.


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