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It's Just Me Again : 006 : School Lunches

It's Just Me Again No.0065 School Lunches
The next earlier Chuck Hinman: Red Buhrman, College Roomate Is Chuck Hinman your favorite Sunday with CM columnist, as many tell us? If so, we hope you'll drop him a line by email. Reader comments to CM are appreciated, as are emails directly to Mr. Hinman at:

by Chuck Hinman

Kids today would not believe that school lunches were not always served in a noisy school cafeteria. Simple lunches were brought from home in an assortment of lunch buckets, sacks, and yes, even molasses buckets with a bale and a lid.

Our family went to New Hope rural elementary school between Wymore and Liberty, Nebraska, in the harsh economic times of the 1930s - eighty some years ago.

There was a family in our school district that was hit hard by those days. They had four kids, all in country grade school at one time. They were not very clean; they had a bad odor and were avoided by the other kids. Yes there was a "pecking order" in the olden days and I admit to being part of it. For shame, Chuck Hinman!

Their lunch consisted of a couple mustard sandwiches apiece and that was all. That's the only time I ever saw anyone eat a mustard sandwich. Ooh! (shudder)

We didn't fare much better. My favorite sandwich was Kraft sandwich spread made into a sandwich. The spread consisted of pickle relish added to a mayonnaise kind of dressing and probably seasoned a little. Mom made cookies frequently so I am sure we had cookies as well as an apple and that was about all. I would like a sandwich spread sandwich right now as I write this but I don't suppose it is still in the stores.

When my brother Bob and I went to Liberty, Nebraska, to high school we carried our lunch buckets on our bicycles. We placed our lunches on a shelf in the gymnasium dressing room until lunch time. Then we would pick up our lunch buckets and sit in the boiler room eating our lunches with John Hart, the affable janitor.

Everyone liked John. He always smelled good; he smoked good-smelling cigars! John Hart was everyone's best friend and "grandpa" to all. We learned a lot about life (all good) from John Hart, our boiler-room professor.

In later years when we came home from college or serving in the military, we always paid a visit to John in the same place, sitting in his special wooden chair in the Liberty High boiler room.

His wife was Cenith Hart, the prettiest lady in Gage County, Nebraska, who was always dressed up. She never saw a wide-brimmed hat she didn't like and she wasn't "too timid to tint" referring to her make-up.

John obviously had a good eye for picking his lady friends. Their daughters, Donna Dee Maguire and Wanda Pyle were town beauties over the years.

Well, back to school lunches!

There was a time when somebody got to our lunches before we did and ate our sandwich spread sandwiches. I guess they liked them too and knew in which lunch buckets to find them -- Bob's and mine.

Mom took a dim view of someone eating her kid's sandwiches so she decided to put a screeching halt to that.

She made-up what appeared to be normal lunches except she made the sandwich dressing out of the peat-moss used on the floor of our brooder house for baby chickens and seasoned it with lard. It looked fantastic but tasted and smelled horrible with baby chicken poo-poo if you can imagine! And if you think it tasted bad, imagine what the after taste was like! Our real lunches were packed in a paper sack that day and secreted away.

Needless to say that stopped the thievery of our school lunches once and for all!

Leave it to Mom to outfox the foxes! And believe you me, she enjoyed her prank -- have you ever noticed that twinkle in her eyes and that mischievous smirk? I sure have, and brother, you had better watch out because "somethun's brewin'" and it ain't good!

Would someone please pass the sandwich spread. Since writing about it, I've had a hankering for it that I don't believe is going to go away.... -Chuck Hinman

This story was posted on 2011-03-13 08:16:36
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