Monday, December 14, 2009

{W}: Lunch Box

I was recently invited to join a new group devoted to bringing writing back to blogging.

Each week, participants are given a writing prompt and a list of links to all the others who are taking the challenge. We aren't required to write every week, just when and as well as we can. Sounds perfect to me. Anytime you see a title with a {W} in front of it, that post will be one inspired by the {W}rite-of-Passage challenge of the week.

This week's prompt is the Lunch Box Essay:  Take fifteen minutes to write about your elementary school lunch. Describe. Remember. Smell. Touch. Who is there? Where are you? What are you eating?

My clearest elementary lunch memories seem to be from the second grade, the last year that my best friend the bibliophile attended my school. That year we were close friends with another girl, Brandi. Brandi was an only child, and I suspect she was living a much more privileged life than either of us. All three of us took our lunches to school in classic plastic lunchboxes (I think this is pretty close to the one I had), and I remember we went through a phase of emptying our lunch boxes and setting them up on the table on their sides, open as if they were books, and "hiding" behind them to eat. Why? Who knows. We were eight.

My mom packed me lunches of a sandwich (probably peanut butter and jelly, though I don't remember the sandwich), some kind of canned fruit, a small baggie of chips or cheese curls (which my cousins and I inexplicably called "cornies"), and a dessert of either two flat cookies or one sandwich cookie. Brandi's mom usually sent her to school with the most luxurious dessert I had ever seen:  an entire Hostess fruit pie. I don't know if it happened often, or just this once, but I remember as clear as a bell the three of us sharing one of those fruit pies.

Brandi ate what she wanted, then passed it to whichever of us was next to her, and then that kid ate some and passed it on. And yeah, those fruit pies are sort of horrible, but I can remember how delicious it was, both the pie and having a close friend share it with me. To this day, on the rare occasion I eat one of those pies, I think of that day (or days) of sharing one in the cafeteria at school. And even though I haven't spoken to Brandi in years, it's a good memory, one that brings back the sound and smell and particular light of the school cafeteria where I ate lunch for eight years, one that brings back that feeling of a simple but somehow incredibly complex friendship, the kind that young girls seem born to form and break and reform and evolve with.


  1. In high school, my entire lunch consisted of a Hostess Lemon Pie and a diet coke. Thanks for reminding me of that.

  2. I would have been very jealous of your chips and cheese curls!

  3. I would totally want to sit at your lunch table!

  4. She would have been my lunch pal, too. I loved those pies!