Lunch Pail Memories

Grade School Lunch boxes.JPG

Everywhere you look you see the signs and evidence that school is either started or about to start. From college down to the elementary levels parents and kids are gearing up for another year.

My husband always comments, “Those poor children…..”. I have a feeling that his comment stems from the fact that he never really cared for school.  For him it was the end of summer freedom and time to be; as he thinks “incarcerated” back in a school building. He has always been an outdoor kind of guy which may be one of the main reasons he is a farmer!

My husband grew up as a farm kid and one of his main memories of school involves his lunch pail. He could never understand why he could not have warm hot dogs in his thermos instead of either jelly or dried beef sandwiches. I laughed when he told me this and that summer when I brought him a lunch pail out to the field I included hot dogs in his old school thermos.

I grew up in the small town where our school was located. Our elementary school did not have a hot lunch program back then so my siblings and I would walk the four blocks back home for dinner. (For us it was dinner at noon as we were a rural community and supper at night.) My mom did, however, purchase us a lunch pail. I am not totally sure why. Maybe we begged enough for them and she gave in? The beautiful red plaid one in the photo was my lunch box……though I did covet my cousin’s which looked like a school bus.

I clearly remember the day my brother did not show up at noon to walk home with me.  When I got home my mom asked where he was. I had no idea. She called school and found out that he had taken his lunch pail with his candy bar (which was a snack for recess) and stayed at school to eat his candy bar for dinner.

Once a month, at our elementary school the moms would come in and serve a hot lunch. This was always a great treat for us town kids as we did not have to walk home at noon. We really appreciated this in the winter when it was snowy and cold. The country kids also appreciated it because it meant a hot meal for them after weeks of jelly or peanut butter sandwiches and fruit.

The menu was always the same– one tavern bun (I think this might be a regional name for sloppy joe) or two buns. One would cost us .25¢ or two for .35¢. You also got some chips and either a chocolate or white milk.  The milk was amazing. My husband and I both always chose chocolate as that was a huge treat.  Back then school milk was in small glass bottles and you had to peel off a cardboard lid thing to open it. (yes, this does really tell my age!).  To top it off we always had a choice of a fudge bar or ice cream bar. It did not get much better than that!

When our sons entered this same school years later they were fortunate as the school had a hot lunch program by that time. I also considered myself fortunate as I did not have to pack those lunch pails and try get creative with something nutritious they would eat.

It’s nice to just be a kid and hang out with your friends at lunch.
Karlie Kloss

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20 thoughts on “Lunch Pail Memories

  1. kindergartenknowledge says:

    Hello! Loved this post as we have three Honda small motorcycles at the farm! One of them I bought when my husband and I were dating…and the motorcycle was “very used” at that time! That was over 40 years ago and it is still sort of (in a strange way) running. Our children and their cousins rode them constantly. We get them out sometimes, but it is always a day long work of art to get one running! Maybe I will write a post about them…I have some funny pictures. I have no idea whatsoever where the pictures are located! I am sending you the Crème Brulee recipe that I meant to send you yesterday! I am behind on everything. I do not know how I ever had time to teach school! Pat

    Liked by 1 person

  2. marijo1245 says:

    Thanks for bringing back fond memories of my Scooby-Doo lunch box! We had a wonderful cafeteria at school with wonderful meals but it was such a treat to take a bologna sand with chips and kool-aid in my awesome lunch box!

    Thanks for the memories, it really cheered up my night!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      Glad to hear that! My grandson would love your Scooby-Doo lunch box!
      I was discussing the lunch pail blog with my husband this morning when the Alice Cooper song “Schools Out For Summer” came on the oldies station. My husband laughed and told me that was his anthem in high school–the line: Schools out forever.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. goldenbrodie says:

    Oh what a great trip back into elementary school! We had hot lunch offerings but I was not allowed to partake. The budget did not allow. However, I did buy the Thanksgiving lunch and it was fantastic!! Even pumpkin pie!! Wish I still had my lunch box…the handle broke after many years of continued service and the thermos….which I dropped on the cafeteria floor, broke and sounded like shaking glass pieces inside. Enjoyed this trip back so much! Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      I have a feeling the budget is why my mom did not pack us a lunch pail….she could feed us cheaper at home rather than buying lunch meat for sandwiches. She could turn hamburger into anything and stretch it farther than anyone I know.


  4. PaperPuff says:

    I covet your lunch pail! when I was a kid I really wanted one of these, having seen them on The Brady Bunch re-runs probably! They weren’t available here though – coloured Tupperware was the height of aspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Jessica says:

        You just made my week! 🙂 I saw one of your comments on Rabbit Patch Diary, so I clicked on your name. Fell in love with your blog immediately…

        Thanks for your kind words. Before I had Little Bit, photography was my go to. Love nature photography. 🙂 Now he’s my passion and we love photography! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • thechickengrandma says:

        I have rediscovered taking pictures of things other than my kids :). They are all grown and out of the house. So I am always on the lookout for what else I can get a photo of. Whenever my husband and I head off down the road to who knows where ….one of his first questions is – “did you take the camera?” And the answer is always YES.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. beeorganizedwithpamela says:

    Oh seeing those lunch pails brings back so many memories. From my grandad’s lunch pail that my grandma packed with leftovers every day. He had the coolest salt and pepper dispensers. The smell of his lunch and his work. Then begging for my own lunch box even though I did not take my lunch to school. LOL. I wanted one like granddad’s. Thanks so much wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

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