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Prompted By What We Ate

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These days a food phenomenon might involve kale and chia seeds.

In the mid 50’s our family loaded up the Plymouth and drove twenty-five miles to McDonalds. Hamburgers were 19 cents. We split an order of fries and I got my own bone-chilling chocolate shake.

Eisenhower was President, America had the atomic bomb, the rest of the world quaked. My mother took care of the house; my father used a leather belt.

For school lunches, I got baloney on white bread with mustard and mayonnaise—no lettuce—wrapped in waxed paper. I usually got a home made cookie too. Milk was a nickel and came in short bottles from Sun Up Dairy; a cardboard disc sealed the bottle and we lifted a little tab to pull it out.

My lunch pail was made of steel and would someday become a toolbox.



Profile photo of richard c rutherford richard c rutherford

Characterizations: moving, right on!, well written


  1. Susan says:

    McDonald’s, sure. But baloney…white bread…mayo…heaven on earth. Milk bottles, oh yeah. Hope you still have that toolbox!

  2. I love the lunchbox as toolkit!!! My Partridge Family lunchbox — featuring David Cassidy — would have made a great one, too! Why didn’t I think of that?

  3. rosie says:

    Short and too the point. Your story brought pictures that were vivid in my mine as well as reminding me what the 50’s were really like. We didn’t have McDonalds near us when I was young. We went to a place that had the best Hamburgers called The Wagon Wheel, instead and they were large and on soft hamburger buns and added lettuce tomato etc, whatever you wanted. Then you could have a cherry soda, a strawberry soda or a grape one with your meal and share benches with other families.

  4. Suzy says:

    I never had a lunchbox. In elementary school, everyone went home for lunch. In high school, my mother packed my lunch in a paper bag. I really missed out on one of the cultural icons of our era.

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