Compiled for OzSportsHistory by Brian Membrey
School 824: Memories : Lunchtime
… and the Curse of the Free Milk!
South Preston did not have a school canteen or "tuck shop" during my time and I think for a decade or more either side, the main outlet for those that either didn't bring lunch from home or just wanted a sugar fix from a threepenny bag of mixed lollies was the "school shop" immediately opposite, the bordered-
During my years, it was run by a rather short and rotund couple, Mr and Mrs George Peck and sometimes helped by their daughter Carol who in the same Grade as us, but maybe remembered as a bit older given an aura of minor authority behind the counter.
(The shop opened around 1916 as a stationers, but within three or four years was a confectionery/milk bar. The Pecks moved in around 1952 and were still operating as late as 1975; George at least had run similar businesses in the southern suburbs since the late 1930s).
There was a small sandwich-
The alternative in my early days was a fish and chip shop on the western side of Plenty Road midway between Seymour and Yann Streets where the lunch-
Of course, if there was a penny left over after devouring the scalding-
Circa 1955, a new fish and chip opened on the eastern side about six doors south of Bell Street, again by a Greek family; a double-
For the majority that brought Mum's cut lunch from home, it was almost invariably sandwiches -
During the last couple of years of my time, plastic bags became available and they kept everything fresher than the paper variety I'm not sure whether they were expensive or just hard to get hold of, but certainly our family led the way in recycling in the Preston area at least
Dad, my brother and I always religiously took the plastic bags back home, Mum would rinse them out and every Saturday morning there would be a dozen or more pegged out on the Hills Rotary Hoist and flapping in the breeze There was also a kitchen drawer devoted almost entirely to bags, both plastic and paper, just below the shelf where the Vegemite jars that doubled as glasses were kept
Perhaps all this sounds like an old man's recollection of the halcyon days of childhood -
At some point and certainly with the best of intentions given there were many families struggling to provide adequate nutrition for their children combined with a glut of low-
The scheme had been proposed early in 1951, but had been held up through a shortage of storage cases and insufficient pasteurising plants -
Others may extol the virtues of the scheme, but I'll tell it as I remember it! YUK!
It was delivered by a local dairy around 6 30 a m and left outside in the sun to curdle until around 10 30 when each class was marched out to face their punishment. The milk came in bottles with a foil lid, and it certainly was not unknown for birds, especially marauding magpies, to peck through the some of the foil top for a free morning feed!
I can't remember much of grades one to three -
It took about three months before Mum twigged that her lunch was no longer on my menu. I got “twigged” one day when she innocently asked how I enjoyed the sandwiches and with a closer cross-
Throwing myself on the mercy of the court and/or kitchen table. I ultimately 'fessed to the milk making me feel sick and she got me taken off the free program
Heaven forbid, if there is ever a time when my ultimate survival from thirst depends on a choice of steaming camel urine or milk, then I hope there are plenty of camels around!
(I should add that I'm not alone here -
One Sunday, someone declared he was going to have a couple of extra beers during the afternoon and decided to test the urban myth that drinking milk put a lining on the stomach which restricted the absorption of alcohol He emerged from the 'fridge with the milk carton and usual white moustache before three of us told him to perform such obscene acts in private -
And an old friend Wendy Frye Collier agrees -
Smart move, didn't think of that at the time … I wonder if Mr and Mrs Peck had beer flavouring?)
|Memories : Day 1|
|Memories : Teachers|
|Memories : Pencil and Ink|
|Reading 'n Rriting|
|Memories : Lunchtime|
|Memories : Preston Tip|
|Memories : Punishments|
|Memories : Uniforms|
|Memories : Where To Next|
|Memories : School, 1955|
|Memories : School, 1928|
|Memories : A Centenary|
|Memories : Sports (official)|
|Memories : Sports (local)|