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…