Much like a scene from “The Breakfast Club” or any other John Hughes film of the 1980s, Carman High School held its smatterings of jocks, nerds, rejects, and social elite. We were a school in the ‘burbs of a big city, looked upon by most as the privelged of public school existence. The majority of students came from professional fathers & stay-at-home mothers. Some parents were “celebrities” of the city…well known doctors, lawyers, reporters or car salesmen. It was a comfortable existence in a school that really had all the amenities the ‘80s could afford. In high school, the cafeteria was a mix of the usual, and occasionally, unusual pairing of kids.
Today’s schools are focused on “healthy fare” with fine nutritional offerings. In the late ‘80s pizza was rectangular with a healthy layer of orange grease floating on the top. French fries (only 50cents ala carte’) were obviously the generic frozen variety, and the salad bar consisted of little more than iceberg lettuce, cucumbers and Ranch dressing. That’s why most students opted for lunch from the vending machines.
The vending machines were more than just dropping in your coins for a bag of chips and a pop (in a cup…schools didn’t get big bucks from Coca-cola or Pepsi then). The vending machines were where you were noticed. From any spot in the cafeteria you could observe the object of your pubescent lust, without the embarrassment of being noticed.
My friends and I had a code to tell one another that one of our crushes was at the machines. “I want candy”. Reminescent of the song by BowWowWow where the singer laments “…he’s got everything my heart desires…” it was the perfect way to share the information without others knowing. We could be talking, quite honestly, about wanting candy from said vending machine…and I guess we were.
The vending machines were often a beehive of activity, and the bustle around them also provided the ideal opportunity of the truly daring to “accidentally” bump into the object of their affection. I’ll admit to actually squeezing a tush or two on the rare occasion in passing…timing it so once they turned to see who the offender was, I was already past them & gone. Usually singing “I want candy…” under my breath.
Check out School Menu and its parental counterpart Family Everday, two sites that work together with School Food Services Directors to provide and promote healthy eating and physical fitness for kids and their parents. Both are great websites to offer recipes and ideas for encouraging you & your kids to get up and get moving. School Menu is colourful enough for the kids to want to click around the site to play, and learn something at the same time. Family Everyday offers some fun, easy recipes worth sharing with the whole family, not just in the kids school lunches!