Friday, November 14, 2008
Surprise! Guess what this is? Did you say another sunset from Gwynn's Island? How did you know?
Continuing on the topic of old expressions that are soon fading away, I'd like to focus on lunch, dinner and lunch boxes, or as my grandmother called it, a lunch bucket. (Some people would call it a lunch pail.)
First, did you know that at one time lunch was dinner and dinner was supper? Don't ask me when they used the term lunch, I have no idea. But whenever my grandmother, and often my mother, told us to come eat dinner, it was lunchtime. And when they called us to supper, it was dinner.
Make sense? Clear as mud? Let's look at it another way:
Breakfast: Presumably was called Breakfast
Lunch: Was called Dinner.
Dinner: Was and still is called supper by many.
Now on to the topic of lunch boxes, which were called dinner buckets and later lunch buckets. Why? Because way back when people took their lunches (aka dinner) to school, and they toted it in a pail or a bucket.
I know some of you are saying, "This Chesapeake Bay Woman character really has her facts all wrong. She is confused and incorrect as usual."
Ordinarily I'd agree wholeheartedly.
But I offer the following excerpt from a book called Island History and Progress, News Items About Gwynn's Island, Virginia, from the Gloucester-Mathews Gazette Journal:
"September 15, 1955: ....Mr. Foster....reminisced, mentioning many old friends and neighbors who were classmates.
"...He described the two-room school building of 1898. Here they used 10-cent slates and wrote with pencils which were two to a penny. The children carried a round tin dinner bucket containing a can of black molasses, two cold biscuits and a sweet potato. He compared this with what the children of today have."
Indeed! If I sent Chesapeake Bay Children to school with black strap molasses and a sweet potato in a bucket, they'd be on the phone, post haste, to the nice people with the padded van and the straight jacket.
So, while I won't actually use a bucket to pack their lunch in, I will--just to keep them on their toes--often tell them to put their lunch buckets in the kitchen when they get home from school. It always gets a response or a reaction, but so far they haven't picked up that phone.