School Lunch by
(34 Stories)

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Long before tv show caricatures, the Lunch Lady was an institution at our elementary school.  One woman did it all…cooked for the 300 kids in our school, and did most of the cleanup as well.  She was tall, slim, and could probably break a man in half barehanded.  And yes, she wore a hairnet.

Long before tv show caricatures, the Lunch Lady was an institution at our elementary school.

School lunch was served in the gym.  The kitchen was adjacent, and the janitor set up tables every day – big picnic-style tables that folded in the middle and were wheeled against the walls to make way for gym classes.  At lunch time we all lined up in the hallway, and passed a table where we paid for lunch.  For 2 cents we could buy milk in a glass bottle.  The bottle caps were our favorites.  Folded paper sealed the bottles, and they had round white cardboard discs in the top.  It didn’t take long for us to figure out how to fold the paper into a half moon, insert the white disc, and use them as launchers.  I can’t remember how the teachers solved the problem of flying cardboard discs throughout the lunch hour.

The very best school cafeteria lunch?  Macaroni and cheese.  It made our hearts sing every time.  Mom had converted the front room of our house into a beauty salon.  My claim to fame was that the lunch lady was a client of hers.  That unsmiling woman showed up at our house once a month, and I got to see what she looked like without the ever-present hairnet.  During that hour she was transformed, and even cracked the occasional smile.  But she will forever be linked in my mind to flying bottle caps and the wondrous smell of school cafeteria macaroni and cheese.


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Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Mysti Berry says:

    Why do all children love mac-and-cheese? Thanks for sharing this story!

  2. Patricia says:

    Wow, takes me back–I can almost smell the mac and cheese.

  3. good visual with the janitor converting the gym.
    we didn’t figure out the flying discs at my school. you must have been in an advanced school.

  4. David Rock says:

    Very funny and immediately engaging story. Well crafted and with good pacing.

  5. Susan says:

    Wonder where the lunch lady is now?

  6. rosie says:

    Delightful and pinpointed use of words. Words that hit the mark without much need for embellishment. What memories!

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