Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I find life in this age to be ludicrous! Nowadays children have to pass an admission examination to be accepted into kindergarten. They learn to use computers when they are three years old. I know this because we purchased a computer program for kids ages 3-5. And my sweet little pumpkin has to have a four-digit personal identification number to get ice cream for her school lunch.

Princess Hope has just started kindergarten. Since the kids go all day, the school provides lunch for the kiddies, but they need to bring 50 cents if they want to buy ice cream. And who doesn't want to buy ice cream? To make sure everyone is honest, fair and accounted for, when the kindergartners buy ice cream bars, they have to type in a PIN into a computer that is connected to the cash register. (Perhaps the school sell the list of names to Equifax and Hope will start getting little kid junk mail)

In reflection, when I was five we didn't get ice cream. We did get milk, in a 1/2 pint glass bottle. A dangerous, extremely breakable glass bottle and heavy glass bottle. We also got a black cookie. A very hard black cookie. It was supposed to be chocolate. It was just black. It wasn't even sweet. Probably because we were facing the Cuba problem, the Bay of Pigs and a shortage of cane sugar in those days. Yep what we got was this hard flat cookie, a black cookie, a cookie that built character. We didn't get ice cream. Not ever! When someone had a birthday, we got milk and black cookies. There were no computers to enter in a four digit PIN code. I think we had an abacus, but no one showed us how it worked. It was in the toy box. We were deprived...I guess. No ice cream, no computer PIN code, no computer. There was no computer because there were no computer chips in 1958. No one invented computer chips. However we sat in the lunchroom and dreamed of chips. Chocolate chips. The ones in the cookies that the rich kids in the private schools were having with their half-pint bottles of milk. No hard black cookies for them. No dodge ball either.

Instead of paying for our milk and black cookies through electronic funds transfer, we used the bucket method. The milk money bucket. It was wooden, small and had a rope handle. We had to kick in 3 cents every school day for milk and black cookies. .. into the bucket.

A year later when I was six and in the first grade I was strong armed by Dr. Douglas Stephens DDS. School lunch was 35 cents a day. It was good too. I have memories of the cafeteria line that featured a five gallon tub of government butter. Real cholesterol clogging butter. Delicious! The ladies put huge gobs of it on my mashed potatoes. There was also a five gallon stainless steel bowl of grape jelly. My friend Jim freaked after seeing "The Blob." He couldn't face that jelly anymore. Large quantities of jelly gave him the jibblies.

But I digress. Dr. Stephens DDS, who was also six at the time let me know in no uncertain terms that he wanted 5 cents from me everyday. He might have collected enough money from me to pay his way through dental school had not the lunch lady contacted my Mom inquiring when she was going to get busy and pay my past due cafeteria bill. The account was delinquent and Miss Sprouse wanted it brought up to date immediately or legal action would be taken.
This ended Dr. Stephens DDS reign of terror and this was the first in a long line of bills to come, bill collectors and folks that have strong armed me.

In 1958 I never had to learn a PIN. Heck a PIN was something in Grandma's sewing kit. But now Hopie has to have a PIN to access her ice cream account. We've come a long way baby!

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