Thursday, April 7, 2011

Memory Lane

Every once in a while, a seeminlgy random act or even can trigger a memory from way down in our minds. Sometimes the memories are long and complex. Sometimes they are just a quick flash of something we remember from our youngest days. These memories can be good. These memories can be bad. They can be brought on by a scent, a color, or even by opening the fridge...

I can't say what brought on my memory today, just that it was a good one. It involved school lunches from back in elementary school.

In Kindergarten my mother always packed my lunches for me. Usually a sandwich and some cookies with a thermos full of juice. I always had those plastic lunch boxes that had some character on the front and came with a matching thermos inside. I had winnie the pooh, tinkerbell, a whole slew of other Disney characters.

Some time about halfway through first grade, my mom stopped packing my lunches and I had to start packing my own, or buying from the school cafeteria. This basically meant that I got a lot of peanut butter sandwiches or school bought lunches. Around this time, I remember buying my lunch a lot more often. Mainly because when I ate breakfast in the mornings I often was too busy reading to realize how much time had passed and I hadn't made my lunch. Or at least thats how I remember it now, sixteen years later.

The church my family belonged to at the time followed what can best be described as kosher style meals. Basically, we ate meat and dairy together (think cheeseburgers)but we never ate anything pork or shellfish or other unclean meats, while still eating parts of "clean animals" that may not have been kosher due to how the animal was killed etc (think filet mignon). Well, our church also celebrated many of the Jewish holidays - most specifically Passover. So every year, my family wouldjoin the Jewish community in buying up matzos from our local grocery store and cleaning anything our of our house that contained yeast. This meant my usual sandwich and cookies were out of the question since both contained yeast. This also meant that school lunches were out of the question as well.

This was my favorite time of the school year, which might be a bit surprising since just about everything I loved, was part of the verboten list (a word meaning... well... forbidden essentially). At least during the week of Passover. So starting partway through first grade, this was the time of year, the one week that I got my favorite lunches and the lunches I remember as being the best looking back. It was the time of year my mother also made me my lunches.

There is nothing like a meal prepared for you by someone you love. It's like how currently I don't like making grilled cheese sandwiches because they never come out the same as when my husband makes them. It's not like we really do anything differently. It's just that his are made with his love for me.

So my mom lovingly made me matzos sandwiches and cut up blocks of cheese into little cubes, packed up grapes and other fun foods that I usually didn't bring to lunch with me. Foods that were tasty and yummy, and much more fun than my normal lunches. And I remember my friends looking at them kind of jealous when all they got was a sandwich. They were also curious why I wasn't eating my usualy sandwich. So I'd tell them it was Passover and I couldn't eat bread or anything with yeast. As different as it made me for that one week, it was worth it to have those special lunches my mom, and yes my dad too, made for me.

So that's my big trip down memory lane today. My Passover lunches from elementary school.

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