Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Shoebox Lunch

This past weekend I cleaned my side of the closet. Threw out clothes I didn't wear this winter and removed shoes from shoe boxes. Shoes need to be free, I will wear them if I can see them. When I was a child most of our shoes were purchased off the rack without a shoe box. My mother would save the rare shoe boxes that came into our house, saved boxes to use for visiting, traveling kin to pack lunches.

This was before integration when African Americans on the road had limited places to eat in dignity. We improvised, packed our own food for road trips. The shoe box was a convenient size for traveling on the bus, train or plane. It would be tied neatly with thick thread, yarn or thin strips of fabric

It shall be unlawful to conduct a restaurant or other place for the serving of food in the city, at which white and colored people are served in the same room, unless such white and colored persons are effectually separated by a solid partition extending from the floor upward to a distance of seven feet or higher, and unless a separate entrance from the street is provided for each compartment. Alabama Jim Crow Laws

Talking with friends about what was prepared for the shoebox lunch, we all mentioned fried chicken, fruit and pound cake. Someone in my family canned pickles and a pickle was included in the box. Boiled eggs, homegrown tomatoes, peanuts, sandwiches, and cheese were also mentioned.

11 comments:

  1. You evoke so much in this oat, u fair laws but also families traveling and eating together, rising above v

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    1. Some of my fondest memories of raising my children were the times we spent together traveling and eating.

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  2. *post
    *unfair laws

    Please forgive typos. I'm on my phone.

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  3. We did that all the time my kids were growing up. We couldn't have afforded to buy food for them anyway. We did it when I was growing up but the only place we went was from Detroit to Idlewild and back. We never bought food. When I left home for San Francisco after graduating from college, my grandmother Pearl asked to make my lunch. She packed so much food, I shared some with my seat mate on the bus. and there was always fried chicken and boiled eggs.

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    1. When we visited relatives, my mother would pack sandwiches in brown bags she doubled. I don't remember buying food. In the early 60s when relatives came to visit my grandmother, a meal was prepared for the shoebox for those traveling by bus, train.

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  4. I can remember taking car trips when I was a child, and stopping at picnic tables along the highway to eat the food that we brought along.

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    1. Those short trips when we would visit and return home the same day, my mother would pack sandwiches so when we arrived we wouldn't be a burden for the people we were visiting.

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  5. Sweet potato pie and pork chop sandwiches...there was nothing like a shoe-box lunch...thanks for the memories!

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    1. If I could go back in time, I would ask to ride with your family.

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  6. Cuz, this sure brought back memories. Riding the Illinois Central Railroad from Cairo, IL to Chicago the shoe box lunch was a godsend. Don't forget the Kool aid or lemonade in a Mason Jar with the top screwed on 'real" tight to keep from spilling!

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    1. My mother had a jar she would put in a brown paper bag insulated with newspaper. It would seem like eternity waiting on her to unscrew the top.

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