One of those nostalgia emails is going around, showing pictures of things that under 50s can’t recognize. The lunch bag reminded me of the time my mother asked us kids what we should get for our stepfather’s birthday … or Fathers Day … can’t be sure which it was.
Anyway, Helen wanted to get the children involved in choosing the gift, probably as a way of cementing his position as “Dad”. We suggested golf things that were too expensive at the time. A carton of cigarettes seemed too mundane.
I began to think hard. Bingo! Every day, Dad went to work as a draftsman, riding the bus and carrying his lunch in a paper bag. Hell, I had better than that, just for school! Let’s get him a proper lunchbox!
Mother frowned in rejection, even when I added that it wouldn’t be the kind with cowboy pictures on it … a grown-up, black one, with a thermos in the lid. NO! Wasn’t going to happen.
Looking back, I laugh at the pretension that I was oblivious to … all those “semi-professional” men riding to work, some with their lunches in briefcases, some with paper bags, none with a workman’s lunch pail. This would have been in the 1950s when folly deemed paper bags to be better than real lunchboxes. As if nobody knew what was in those little paper sacks.