Once in a great while, my sister Abby and I would have to take our lunch to school. Usually this unfortunate event occurred when Mother had an “appointment” of some sort. Mother was always very secretive about what she may – or may not – have been up to. Maybe she felt it added glamour or suspense to her life to be so “mysterious.” Even when we were just in elementary school, my sister and I were quite aware of the reality of her comings and goings. Some of her appointments were actual appointments, such as seeing one of many doctors (the term “doctor shopping” was not known at the time, but that’s what she was doing). Some of her other “appointments” were actually just spending the day drinking and playing Scrabble in a dingy bar.
And on such days as Mother was out to who knows where, my sister and I would arrive at school in the morning with our lunch in a sack and put it in the cloak room.
By lunch time, the entire cloak room smelled so horrible that everyone wondered if something or someone had died. Abby and I knew exactly where the odor was coming from. It was our lunch!
Mother, in her great wisdom, had packed a boiled egg along with a sandwich made up of questionable meat and an old piece of fruit. No potato chips, cookies or Rice Krispie treats for us.
Do you know what heat does to this kind of lunch when in an enclosed space? Our lunches smelled so awful that we did not want to lay claim to them. We reluctantly took our sacks to the classroom, sat down at our desks and began eating. The smell was overwhelming but we were so hungry that we had little choice but to eat what we had.
All afternoon we wondered why we couldn’t be the kids to have the lunch that everyone wished for. But we knew that wasn’t going to happen. Instead we had the lunch from Hell. But this turned into another lesson that we remembered when we had kids of our own: never send them to school with such a rotten lunch.