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January 31, 2014

Gary Church: Better pack a lunch — it’s a slippery slope down memory lane

NEW CASTLE — If this weather doesn't change pretty soon, I'll probably go nuts.

Being cooped up in the house with no one else to talk to, my wife has felt led to share all of her childhood winter memories with me.

Of course, there was the one about walking to school when the temperature was 17 degrees below zero.

When it was that cold, I'm pretty sure I was absent that day.

Then she started complaining to me about her lunch box.

All the other kids at school had a square lunch box. Hers was oval.

She says it had a green top, with multicolored sides.

I could barely contain my excitement when she told me that.

I listened attentively, but could not feel her pain.

You see, I never had a lunch box!

Not only did I not have a lunch box, I didn't have a thermos either.

If I ever had to stay for lunch, Mom packed me a brown bag with my choice of a sugar and butter, or ketchup and butter sandwich.

Since I never owned a thermos, Mom mixed Ovaltine and milk, and put it in the empty Ovaltine jar.

If I remember correctly, she did remove the label, which left me an amber jar to drink out of.

That was my lunch in those days.

We both went to West Side School at the same time, although I was two grades ahead of her.

She asked me if I remembered her.

I was sorry to say I didn't, nor did I ever notice a kid with an oval lunch box.

Perhaps the weather will break soon, and she will be able to get out of the house and give me a little break from memory lane.

If not, get the straight jacket ready for me.

How many times can a man hear about her falling off her bike in Warren, Ohio, and still keep his sanity.


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