A Slice of Life: Confessions of a Lunch Box Trader...

(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) "But mom, juice boxes are so kindergarten." So said my son a while back. Who knew? I wondered why he kept bringing juice boxes home in his lunch box every day rather than drinking them. Apparently, when you're in second grade, squishy pack drinks are way more cool. Sometimes I have trouble trying to keep up with what's in and what's out snack wise, AND keep it healthy. "Flavor Blasted" Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, in. Regular Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, out. Sweets, in. Yogurt, out. Fruit, definitely out. How can I compete? "Mom, did you know Johnny has a Cosmic Brownie for morning snack. A Cosmic Brownie," he adds for emphasis. At 10:20 in the morning? I don't think so. "But mom, they're cosmic." Yeah, right. They might be cosmic but they're not gonna happen, and certainly not at 10:20 in the morning.

Believe me, I feel his pain. You see, I was a lunch box trader. There, I said it. You probably knew a kid like me--the pathetic kid with the apple. Yup, that was me. I was the kid sitting at that table in the gymacafatorium with my bruised apple rolling around at the bottom of my metal Peanuts lunch box. Squished tuna sandwich wrapped in wax paper. No mayo. Frozen milk bought at school. No soda for this kid. Mom was a woman ahead of her time. She wanted me to be healthy. I just wanted a Twinkie. Oh, how I envied those kids with the Twinkies. Why couldn't I have a Twinkie like everyone else?

Years later, when I was in my twenties, I finally confessed to my Mom about the trading thing. She was shocked. Shocked. "Some kid was perfectly happy to get that apple," she said. Frankly, I could never figure out why anybody wanted my apple. Actually, I still can't. Even today, given the choice of a Twinkie or an apple, I'd go with the Twinkie in a heartbeat if I didn't know any better. Today we have cholesterol. Ah, those innocent days of youth.

I hate to admit it, but yes, I've become my mother. Once I became a mom I knew it was just a matter of time. I hear stuff coming out of my mouth that my mother use to say. And despite that, NO, my son will NOT be taking a Cosmic Brownie for morning snack. I don't care if everyone does it. NO Cosmic Brownie. End of story.

What was in your lunch box? Were you the apple, or were you the Twinkie? I really want to know...

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Carol said...


Again and again

I am old enough that leaky memory no longer records said data!


ohhh, you gonna love this, the word verify is


NO, I am NOT kiddin!

Nolichucky Roots said...

LOVE it, Cynthia. Absolutely love it.

I lusted after Hostess Fruit Pies - Apple, at that (blueberry if apple was unavailable). I'd have traded the entire lunch, box and sister for one.

The truly humbling thing is Krispy Kreme is selling Apple Fruit pies in our supermarket. Do you think I can just walk past the display? Of course not. And so I stand there mentally trading all the things I won't eat so I can have just one. I even whine. It doesn't get much worse than turning into your mother AND regressing to a nine year old in the same internal conversation. Do I get points for both?

Jasia said...

I don't remember ever trading anything in my brown paper lunch bag (never had a lunch box). I ate the same lunch every day all through elementary school (except good Fridays during Lent)... bologna and mayo on white bread sandwich, piece of fruit, something sweet (often baked that morning) like a cookie, cake, cinnamon roll, etc. On Lenten Fridays the sandwich was tuna salad with mayo. I bought chocolate milk once a week (that's as often as it was offered), otherwise I drank water. I was allowed to buy a hot lunch occasionally when they had pizza or turkey. Life was simple back then...

Michelle Goodrum said...

I was definitely the one with the apple in my lunchbox. Would have loved to trade it for a Twinkie-sometimes. But mostly I remember being OK with the apple.

Now of course is another story-can hardly pass by the isle with the chocolate in the grocery store!

Great post!

Cynthia Shenette said...

Given the responses here, I think we have more apples than Twinkies. Wow. I wasn't alone. All this time I was thinking I was the only one. I wish you all were sitting at my table.

Susan, I too love the Hostess Pies. Appley goo or blueberry goo. What do you think? Is there really any fruit hiding in there? As far as the regressing thing, I am so with you on that.

Jasia, you seemed to have the best of both worlds. Fruit and a home-baked treat! You are right though, life was simpler back then...

I really shouldn't complain. My first year in school we had to walk home for lunch. In the winter I had to walk a mile in the snow, up hill, both ways. But that's another post...

Thank you all for your nice comments.