On rainy days the classroom
smells like mud from the swamp
the school is built upon. We stand
in an alphabetical line for lunch,
the mud from our shoes gradually
shading the floor with a grayish
patina. We walk/march in lined
unison to the cafeteria four our feast
of mystery meat in gravy, boiled
spinach with a slice of boiled egg,
beets and other delicacies to affront
the childish palate. I wasn’t Catholic
but I loved Fridays because it was
always fish on Fridays. At recess
we have Polar Bars or Fudgcicles or
Dreamcicles, to wash away
the taste of beets, the smell of mud.
Lunch is a quarter, ice cream
a nickel and much the better
value for the money.
This poem is submitted for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. To see more poems, please visited the site. Links will be live at 2 p.m. Central time.
This is also one on a series of poems about growing up in the South, suggested by my friend Nancy Rosback. We didn’t have boiled spinach and beets every day in our school cafeteria, but those are the foods that have lingered in memory. (Our cafeteria workers also never looked as cheerful as those in the photograph.)
Photograph courtesy Grand Island Pictures from the Past.
Oh, this brought back so many memories for me! We had distinctively Southern food served at our elementary school. As a child of transplanted Yankees, it was hard for me to get used to the foreign flavors, but I managed.
Great reflection, Glynn!
Love the old school cafeteria pic! And the bit about going through line in alphabetical order (I guess discipline and order mattered a lot to that school).
We were spared the delicacy of boiled beets in our school lunches, which Mother packed. We only got to buy those memorable cartons of milk.
the gift of gravy
you knew...it was fish
no gravy required
and now i'm dreaming
thank goodness for ice cream to wash away the taste....i was rather fond of pizza day...somedays i could not tell what it was...ha....nice rememberence man...
Really enjoyed this walk through the school days with you.
This makes me glad we didn't have a cafeteria at the school I attended!
You have, my friend, proven time travel is indeed possible. An era, that distinct moment, now captured forever! A fantastic immersion of the senses...loved it!
Lovely, vivid, very real. k.
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