Wednesday, September 14, 2016

If I Had a Nickel For Every Twinkie!

Go back to your school days for a moment. When you think of school lunches, what do you think of? Is it a fond memory, is it a horrid memory? Does it leave a bad taste in your mouth? Maybe it's the school cafeteria smell you remember. 

Image credit: pixabay.com -Wokandapix


Mrs. Bell was my 1st grade teacher in 1969 and I remember about a handful of things about 1st grade. I remember reading Dick and Jane books, square dancing in gym class, my little crush on Tommy and the unforgettable era with the Twinkie

In 1st grade, or any grade for that matter, I looked forward to lunch time. We'd line up at our classroom door and while clutching my metal tin "Archies" lunchbox, I would wiggle somewhere in line to get as close as possible to Tommy. Of course, he didn't even know I existed. Somewhere between Dick and Jane stories and gym class he never noticed my adoration for his 6 year-old baby face and big brown eyes.

In gym class I had hoped we'd be in the same square dancing group. Which, brings attention to why in the world did we have square dancing in gym class? I'll never forget doing the dosey doe and swing your partner to the hoedown music coming from the small record player echoing in our small gymnasium. Besides feeling the competition to team up with Tommy as my dosey doe partner, I had no idea what square dancing had to do with gym class. 

This was just one of the frustrations I'd soon discover from 1st grade. 

Like I said, I always looked forward to lunch time. Not sure if it was because we were getting a break from Dick and Jane, maybe having social time with friends or if it was the anticipation of flipping open the lid of my lunchbox to reveal the goodies inside. If being a "foodie" was a term back then, I’m quite sure it would have been inked with a Sharpie as my name inside that Archie's lunchbox. 


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Every school day I'd flip open my lunchbox to survey inside something from the 5 basic food groups; a sandwich, some kind of fruit or veggie, milk and a pack of Twinkies

Yes, I do believe, if the Twinkie wasn’t already in 1969 part of the basic food group, it would soon become part of it!


Image credit: pixabay.com - skeeze


It all started out pretty exciting. As soon as I saw that twin pack of yellow sponge cake with the cream peeking out of the inside, I knew I had arrived to lunch time euphoria. My eyes would get so glazed over; I didn't even notice brown-eyed Tommy sitting at the next table. 

Often times, anyone sitting within a 2 lunchbox radius would have Twinkie envy. Twinkies were first created in the 1930's, but rose to be a lunchbox favorite by the 50's and 60's. They were like lunchbox gold. No one ever traded their Twinkies!!

Every single school day I'd line up at the classroom door, flash a smile at Tommy, walk to the cafeteria and flip the lid to my lunchbox. I was never disappointed...there they were...beaming their golden glow, a twin pack of cream filled sponge cakes. 

Day after day and lunch after lunch...it was the same routine. Dick and Jane, gym class, flip the lid and the Twinkies

It was right around the end of the school year that I started to realize that Dick and Jane could see, run, jump and hide with Sally, Spot and even the milk man for god's sakes! Suddenly, all of Dick and Jane's stupid adventures were sucking the life right out of me. Not to mention, the dosey doe and my Twinkie lunches were starting to lose their golden charm. Then to make matters worse, I found out Tommy was moving away. 


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I sulked a bit on the last day of school as I knew it would be my last time flashing a smile at sweet brown-eyed Tommy. I was going to miss him even though we never did do the dosey doe. I certainly wasn't going to miss Dick and Jane and I knew it was time to take a break from the Twinkie lunches. 

Summer break went by quickly and soon I’d be starting the 2nd grade in Mrs. Johnson's class. I was nervous, but also excited to have moved across the hall up and away from the 1st graders. I swear, though, if I had walked into that 2nd grade classroom and seen a Dick and Jane book anywhere in the vicinity, I would've turned to the door to run, jump and hide!

Thankfully, I found out there wasn't any more Dick and Jane books and that I had moved successfully to the next level. 

It didn't take long for me to scan the classroom hoping that maybe Tommy had had a change of plans, but no such luck. Other than that, things were off to good start. It wasn't until Mrs. Johnson announced that it was lunch time that I felt a switch in my focus. 

Eagerly, we lined up at the classroom door and with my new Scooby Doo lunchbox in my clutches; I knew this was the best time of the day.  It was a new school year, a new lunch box and possibly a new boy crush. I'll admit I may have been just a little over excited to what new goodies could possibly be packed in my lunch. 

With a spring in my step we single-filed down to the cafeteria and I plopped down at the lunch table fully anticipating to see those chocolate cupcakes with the white swirly loops on top. I told mom that I really liked those. 

I flipped the lid and to my surprise there snuggled behind a bologna sandwich was a pack of...you got it...stinkin' TWINKIES!

All I could do was sit and stare pitifully into the four metal walls of my Scooby Doo lunchbox. Honestly, there just may have been a little tear forming and a gagging reflex thwarting in the back of my throat. 

It didn't take long for the cafeteria monitor lady with her blonde bouffant hairdo to notice that I had a disturbed look on my face. Her tall thin frame sauntered over to me and she asked "sweetie is there a problem with your lunch?"  

"Oh no" I sadly responded. "I was just thinking...if I had a nickel for every Twinkie I've gotten, maybe I'd have enough to hop a bus outta here to go see Tommy!"
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I have NOT had a Twinkie since. 


Image Credit: pixabay.com - Alexas_Fotos


For a little extra credit, here's a strange Twinkie fact:  in 1979, while on trial for murder, Dan White claimed that his mental capacity had been diminished by over indulging in junk foods like Twinkies. The explanation for his actions was so outlandish that it quickly earned the nickname "The Twinkie Defense." While this is not a true legal term, it is often humorously referred to in the legal community.

Glad I quit when I did!

Do you have any school lunch stories that are trapped inside a lunch box of memories?


Put your smile on and unwrap
   A Square of Chocolate,
Laurie O


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4 comments:

  1. You have caused such a rush of school lunch memories!! I had a little short squat thermos which my mom would fill with hot soup, usually homemade... Those were the days! Dick and Jane were classics. Did you have the 'upside down' reading books? When you finished one story you flipped the book over and upside down and there was a new story! They were color coded by level. As I recall my goal was to reach the purple-highest -level!!

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    1. You got hot soup!!! Laura, it's funny the things we remember from childhood. I always seem to remember the food...go figure! I do remember upside down books, but not the color coded ones. Dick and Jane, though...it was a treasured classic. :)

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  2. This was my childhood- complete with a Tommy. But for me it was Ho Ho's! Haven't had one in years and probably never will again.

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    1. Ah yes, the Ho Ho...who could forget, been down that road too. Haha. Thanks for reading my silly story, Michele!

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