Thursday, March 12, 2009

A sandwhich meme: What's in your bag?

Bird by bird is a great book on the ups and down of the process of writing, by Anne Lamott. Early on in the book is her description of the sandwich in her lunch bag as an elementary student. It is her suggestion that when stumped on what to write find something limited and from your own experience to write about. So a brown bag childhood sandwich may be a good place to start or just might be fun to write about. You may learn something about yourself and your family as well. Here's the meme if you'd like to give it a shot:
The sandwich I took to lunch as a child was...
and go from there. Here's my own sandwich meme for good measure.

Circle seats of varying colors lined the lunch table as I carried my metal lunch box in hand after buying milk in the milk line. Too bad it wasn't Friday. Friday is chocolate milk day.

I choose a red circle seat to sit on in the the lunch room, blaring with noise and food trading. Looking around I see kids eating bologna, mustard, yellow American cheese, and white bread sandwiches with cheese doodles or Twinkies on the side. Capri Sun juice boxes were the in thing to be drinking, but for the most part ended up being squirted on the table because the straw was hard to poke into the metallic pouch.

My Mom never bought white bread for my lunch. The only time I remember Wonder white bread passing my lips was when my Grandpap would buy it for me when I visited him. My sandwich was carefully wrapped in wax paper, so carefully it was wrapped I often thought it looked like an edible milky Christmas package. I'd pull away the corners of the paper to find whole grain wheat bread looking seriously back at me. It's funny, I didn't dislike the wheat bread as a rule I still eat it by choice today. It was good for me then, and it's good for me now. So I eat it, but the squishy white bread remained to be a unrequited love.

Upon the thick slices of wheat bread would be butter spread to keep the bread from getting soggy from the contents, next came the Miracle Whip salad dressing, orange and smooth Velveeta Cheese, and sweet butter pickles. I a pickle and cheese sandwich kid in a bologna and wonder bread world. Occasionally I'd have a grape jelly and peanut butter sandwich on wheat, and would have a friend who'd trade me half of their bologna and wonder bread concoction. I would be perplexed how the wonder bread would strangely melt in my mouth without really chewing the sandwich. Most days, I'd look at my different sandwich and smile, knowing it was unique. My sandwich had substance, texture and character; so much more character than that wonder bag tried to imply. In truth, wonder white's intrigue was only bag deep; unlike my wax paper wrapped sandwich.

My sandwich was unique, like me - and I was satisfied with that.

I challenge readers to take this meme and make it their own - write about your elementary school sandwich! You can do it.


Mel said...


From the lunchbox comes wonderful tales!
Well done, you!

Lamont said...

Thanks Mel,
What's in you lunchbox that you can tell us about?

ashley said...

That's a great description of a memory. I'm allergic to Wonder bread and have never understood it's appeal.
My elementary school lunches were often quite elaborate. My favoite sandwiches were meatloaf in pita bread; they fit together so well.