Monday, December 14, 2009

Elementary, My Dear Lunchtime...

Today's {W}rite of Passage challenge is to spend 15 minutes writing about our elementary school lunch.

My mom was not an early riser. Some of my friend's moms would get up at 6am to cook breakfast for their kids and box them up a delicious, healthy lunch. Our breakfast consisted of cereal, or toast & peanut butter, that we prepared for ourselves in the morning. Mom was usually up in time to kiss us good-bye, but we're pretty sure that she went back to bed after we left.

My elementary school cafeteria was in the basement. The floor was that very dark gray, institutional concrete, and the walls were orange. Yes, orange. My brothers and I usually bought the school lunch. Sometimes it was good (pizza), and sometimes it was barely edible (mystery meat). The biggest problem for me was fish day. I have a fish and seafood allergy, so when the school was serving fish, I would have to ask the lunch lady to make me a pb&j. It was kind of embarrassing, and she usually laid the peanut butter on so thick that it would take me several seconds after taking a bite to be able to open my mouth.

A classmate of mine who had one of the more industrious moms usually brought a peanut butter sandwich with, not jelly, but a white substance. I didn't know what it was. One day I said to her, "Oh, you have peanut butter and cheese again?" She looked at me incredulously. I can still hear her mocking tone as she replied:

"Peanut butter and CHEESE?! It's not cheese, it's marshmallow fluff!"

I didn't know what marshmallow fluff was at that early point in my life, but I tried it soon afterward. It certainly tasted better than peanut butter and cheese, which I had tried as an after-school snack prior to learning that my classmate's sandwich was otherwise composed.

After lunch, we would have outside time on the playground. Our principal would lead a kickball game every afternoon, and I usually participated in that since the kids were less likely to pick on me under direct adult supervision. When I could get outside quickly enough, though, I would claim the large jump rope. There was only one, and the playground toys were handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, and if I wasn't the first one out, I did not get to participate in jump-rope. If I had it, though, the other girls had to let me play.

When it was raining, recess would be held inside the cafeteria. The tables would be moved to the sides of the room and the teachers and lunch ladies would come up with activities for us. Looking back, I don't know who hated inside recess more, the kids or the adults. The cafeteria was loud enough when the kids were eating. On those rainy days, though, the sound would become an almost unbearable cacophony of kids' voices at varying decibels.

When after-lunch recess was over, whether indoor or outdoor, we would all line up by class and file back in for an afternoon of learning. I was usually relieved to get back to the relative quiet of the classroom, after the social pressures of lunch and playground time.

8 comments:

brigid said...

You were years ahead of me. I just recently, as an adult, figured out what marshmallow fluff was.

And though I never thought of it at the time, I'm pretty sure the teachers hated indoor recess worse than the students.

Kate said...

I think you're probably right about that, Brigid! Have you tried a fluffernutter sandwich? An indulgence to be sure, but one worth having once every 3 or 4 years...

mamikaze said...

I didn't know what a fluffernutter was until I met my husband. He now has my kids hooked on them.

Steph. said...

I've never had a fluffernutter sandwich, but you made me want to try one. You described your experience really well. I could picture you there. Way to go...

Liz@thisfullhouse said...

I, however, knew exactly what a Fluffernutter is/was and still do :)

Kelly @ The Miller Mix said...

I've heard of a fluffernutter sandwich but never actually new what it was. I would try it, but who needs yet another thing to crave? :)

Great job relaying your lunchtime experience!

Rustique Gallery said...

Hi Kate, Nice blog, I liked your story. I will read more soon. Hope you are all well. Sherry

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