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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bring Your Family to Lunch Week Brings Back Memories

Okay, not my favorite picture of us, but here we are standing in the doorway to the lunchroom awaiting our turn to go through the line.  My mom came along and took the picture for us.
Do you miss cafeteria lunches?  I'd have to say I had my fair share of them all through Elementary and Junior High School.  By the time High School rolled around, the cafeteria didn't offer enough food to fill my very ravenous appetite, so I brought my own food from home.  I worked as a lunch worker every school day in 7th, 8th, and 9th grades.  That earned me a free lunch for the day and with it came a free cookie.  It meant I could only eat after everyone had been served, but that also meant that I could have whatever I wanted.  For instance, if I wanted a slice of pizza from one line, fries from another, and a peanut butter bar cookie from another, I could do that (as long as there was enough left over, that is.), and I did do that on several occasions.  But I remember usually getting the salad bar and fresh rolls.  I tried not to get too much food because we usually only had 7-9 minutes to eat before the next class started. 

My first introduction to school lunch came on the first day of school in first grade.  It made me kinda dread lunch time, at least for the first couple weeks until I figured things out and found some friends.  My dad had packed me a lunch, bless his ever-giving heart, but didn't he know that kids carried their lunches in disposable brown paper bags, not a floral fabric shoulder bag?  They also used ziptop or sandwich bags, not tupperware and seran wrap.  I could feel every eye on me, and my face burned red with embarrassment.  I had been paired up with a sixth grade boy that was supposed to show me where to go and how to buy my milk.  He took me to buy my milk, and I got "red" milk- no that's not strawberry milk, it's the color of the carton.  Red signifies whole milk, blue is 2 % and green is 1%.  I didn't know that blue milk is what everyone was drinking, and my 6th grade helper didn't clue me in on that either.  When I found a seat at a lunch table, I didn't realize that I was sitting on the "boys" side.  It wasn't intentionally segregated that way, it's just the way that the students did things and since the 1st grade was the first in the lunchroom, the "boys side" didn't start filling up with boys until after I sat down there.  I felt so alone.  I couldn't find any of my friends, and my brother didn't go to lunch until much later.  I was too embarrassed to move to the girls side.  My helper left me and I was clueless how to open the stupid milk container and I was so thirsty, but not wanting to draw more attention to myself, I just acted like I didn't want it.  Sorry dad, that was 20 cents down the drain.  I could hear passing students say, "Why is she sitting on the boy's side?"  I could feel them laughing and pointing at me.  I knew they were staring at me and my lunch bag.  I was also one of 4 kids at that whole school that wasn't white skinned, so I think that was another reason everyone was staring, and maybe perhaps because I insisted on doing my own hair.  Just take a look at my school picture from first grade- I'm in the middle with the funky floral clipped to the side of my head and the stained pink shirt.

Anyway, I was too embarrassed to take my food out in the open for people to see the tupperware and seran wrapped food, so I just sneakily picked at it while keeping it hidden in my bag.  As I looked around I began to wonder, where is my capri sun or koolaid squeezit?  I didn't have fruit snacks or any other pre-packaged item.  I had a large peeled carrot wrapped in seran wrap, and a sandwich in tupperware.  I hated that day, but luckily for me it was one of the very few times that I had a sack lunch from home since my parents generally purchased a lunch ticket for us to get cafeteria food in elementary school.

What memories school cafeterias bring back to me.  So, earlier this month I got word of a "bring your family to lunch" at Steve's school and I just had to hop on the chance!  I brought my camera along, so I could blog all about it.  Pictures say a thousand words, so enjoy the lunch we had... I know we did. 

The menu was:

Beef Freaking Gross Ravioli (Yuck!  Me and the Chef Boyardee are NOT friends!)
Grilled Cheese
Orange slices
Celery and Carrot sticks
Fruit snacks

When I went through the line, I was given an option to have leftover chicken noodle soup from the day before or beef ravioli.  Hello!  "I'll take the chicken noodle."  No brainer.
My lunch

Amara enjoying her grilled cheese.

Lily opening her fruit snacks first.

Blurry Steve.  I said, "Smile."  To which he emphatically replied, "Why would I want a picture of myself eating school lunch?" I snapped the photo in the middle of his ranting.

Mom took a pic of the whole family sitting at the cafeteria table.


Myrna said...

Loved this post, Lani! Brought back lots of memories from elementary school--aaaaahhhhh!!!!! Glad those days are over!

So is Steve a school teacher these days? I have lost track of your sweet little family. Your girls are adorable! (Linked to your blog from Nancy's...)

Bobbie said...

*laughing here* I loveee this post, too! Omgsh, I had no clue about that first day of school lunch that you had described. You poor thang... good thang I didn't have parents like yours! psht! Floral bag? Saran wrap? Noo 'all you can eat preservatives' in your juice? That's just abuse to be brutally honest. I loved your vivid description of your lunch room conspiracy from a 1st graders point of view. I guess I sorta breathed a sigh of relief that you did not describe in that same vivid description... how your parents look. :P I feel I need to give you a hug that was looong overdue since 1st grade. :) luv u!

The Christensen Family said...

Myrna- Yes, Steve is a 2nd grade teacher. I'm glad you found my blog through Nancy!

Kids In The Kitchen said...

I loved that post!