School Lunch

In her wonderful book on writing, “Bird by Bird,” Anne Lamott instructs would-be writers to describe a school lunch. Inspired, I began to probe the recesses of my mind for memories of lunch time at Laverna Evans Elementary School in O’Fallon, IL.

You should know that I always brought my lunch. The coolest lunchbox and thermos set could never dampen the glamour that I attached to “bought lunch.” The major question as we took off our boots and snowsuits (hey, it was Illinois, and we walked to school in boots, ok?) in the morning was, “So, are you bringing or buying?”

Improper grammar notwithstanding, I always longed to reply, “Bringing….PSYCH!!!! I’m buying, duh!”

Ah, the bought lunch: mystery meat nuggets, the ubiquitous tater tots, canned fruit cocktail in slimy syrup, milk in a box…all the delicacies Mom never served. At the time I wondered why these luscious treats were kept from us.

Instead, Mom made us tasty nutritious meals and lunches, and tried her best to get me to eat something other than peanut-butter-and-honey sandwiches every day (for five years).

Looking back, of course I understand why I always brought lunch. And I understand why I was not allowed to wear neon green jelly shoes or play with Barbies. I’m thankful to have had a mom who looked out for my best interests as she honed and sharpened my culinary tastes. 🙂

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