Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Writing Wednesday #2 - Of lunches past...

"Lunch Box"

I'll be perfectly honest with you. I used to HATE lunchtime when I was in grade school.

Except for the recess part... (do they even still have recess anymore?? Hmm?)

But, I digress...

I was never a popular kid. I grew up poor. Poor, poor. Like, we were on Food Stamps, and I got free hot lunch kind of poor.

I used to hide in the hallways until all the other kids bought their lunch tickets for the month. Only after I was absolutely SURE everyone else had gone - would I dare to creep around the corner, and get my month's worth of free lunch tickets. They looked the same as the other lunch tickets, I just didn't want anyone to KNOW I got FREE school lunch. Because we were POOR!

I wore crappy clothes, and they were also the source of much of my embarassment. The other girls had Guess? Jeans and Reeboks. I had hand-me-downs and Pro-Wings.

I usually had only one or two friends at a time. And, if they got hot lunch when I brought a sack lunch, I had to sit alone. Our school segregated those who brought their lunch from those who got school lunch. I still don't know why. This was why I would often sit all alone at lunchtime.

I really can't recall ever having a particular favorite lunch box. I know I had them, but usually I brought my lunch in a paper bag. I'm guessing I would lose them, and we wouldn't have the money to replace them.

Whenever I brought my lunch... it was when the cafeteria was serving something gross. Which, as I recall, was more often than not.

My lunch always consisted of a sandwich (usually PB & J) always grape. When it wasn't that, it was egg salad, tuna, or bologna. ALWAYS on WHOLE WHEAT bread. All the other kids had Wonder-white bread. Nope, not me. My mom was one of those "Hippy" Moms. We didn't eat white bread. We didn't have sugar.

I usually had a hard-boiled egg (always with a little packet of salt). Sometimes I had a thermos of soup or and celery with peanut butter and raisens. An apple, orange, or banana would round out my lunch.

I hardly ever had a "dessert" of sorts. There were rare times when I would see a treat tucked into my lunch. But, every day, my mom put a napkin in there. She always wrote something, or put a sticker or a little doodle on the napkin.

Looking back, I know that she only wanted what was best for me. To nourish me in the best way possible.

But, there were many days I wished for a doughy white-bread sandwich, with chips, and twinkies. Devoid of any nutrition. Just like all the other kids had. Just to fit in. Just for one day.
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Mrs. Flinger said...

Ahhh, hon, I love your post. I love it for its honesty and I love it because I can totally feel being that little girl not allowed to buy a lunch (I wasn't either) and I always had something much more drab. It's nice to remember being a kid and not an anal mom who won't let her daughter have ice cream (I don't). *sigh*

Anne said...

oh man! your post was so sad to me. I cannot believe that they segregated the kids based on what they were eating; that just seems totally idiotic. When I was little I was jealous of the kids that got a free lunch because most of the time I had a sack lunch and my Mom was a total health food freak which meant no chips or sweets.

holli said...

I think I felt even worse because I had the "stuff" to fit in.. but when I was younger I didn't just because of me. Which just sucks.

But I've always hated wonder bread - that stuff turns to glue on your teeth!

I would have hung with you!

Rachael said...

This was such an awesome post girl! It made me cry. I know lame. But I was so poor growing up too. I know all too well how embarrassing it is to have to go get free lunch tickets. I also know what it is like not to have any friends because you don't have the coolest clothes. I think that is why I am obsessed with dressing my kids in style.
My mom always put a napkin in my packed lunches too. She wasn't adorable like your mom though. I never got twinkies or chips either. We couldn't afford plastic bags, so my mom would wrap everything in plastic wrap. Also I would always take my lunch in a grocery store.
This makes me so sad remembering lol. We could have been BFF's in school girl!