This Week’s Words


I have six siblings.  We were so poor that our mom couldn’t always afford lunch meat or peanut butter for our sack-lunch sandwiches for school (and we certainly couldn’t afford the 25 cents per day for the hot lunches).  Once in a while my “sandwich” consisted of applesauce between two slices of buttered bread.  It never became a family favorite.

Back then, plastic wrap or plastic sandwich bags to protect the sandwiches didn’t exist.  The only choices were aluminum foil (too expensive), waxed paper, or waxed-paper sandwich bags (neither of which kept the air out).  Mom would save the plastic bags that store-bought items came in and use those to protect our sandwiches.

I had a friend who always bought the hot lunch, but he didn’t like it when they had spaghetti, so on those days he would give me his quarter so I could  buy the hot lunch, and he would take my sack lunch in trade.

On one such “spaghetti day” I returned to our usual table with my tray of food and found my friend’s face a vivid shade of red and the other guys at the table doubled over laughing.  I had failed to caution my friend to always unwrap the sandwich inside the lunch sack before pulling it out.

That day, my frugal mother had protected my sandwich in a plastic bag that had once protected a brand new girdle.

Copyright © 2017 by John Arthur Robinson

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9 thoughts on “This Week’s Words

  1. Al, I didn’t know what marmite sandwiches were. Never heard of it before. After I looked it up and got a description of it, it’s not on my bucket list.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is a funny story. I can identify with the times because although we had wax paper, we didn’t always have paper bags. Five of us were taking lunches to school, so my mother would wrap our lunches in a newspaper. This was embarrassing when other kids had paper bags or lunch boxes. I guess I survived. One of my friends sometimes had ketchup sandwiches.

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    1. Yes, being poor is relative, I guess. We had lunch boxes in the early years and brown lunch sacks after that. My oldest brother wouldn’t eat a peanut butter sandwich unless it had ketchup and mustard on it. If mom got it in the wrong sack, that person went hungry that day.


  3. AHAHAHAHAHA Poor kid. Did he ever share again?

    My mum often gave me marmite in my sandwiches. She said it would make me grow, even though she knew I disliked the stuff. Although I don’t think dislike is a strong enough word. Detested, abhorred, despised, loathed, execrated, contemned, found it utterly disgusting. Yeah, I wasn’t keen on it.

    Liked by 1 person

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