Catchy lyrics and lunch boxes


School days.

School days.

Dear old golden rule days.

Readin’ and ‘ritin’ and ‘rithmetic.

Taught to the tune of a hickory stick.

Those catchy lyrics — why I don’t know — danced through my brain while browsing through old editions of the Tribune at Wayne County Public Library.

It certainly sparked a walk down Nostalgia Lane.

Back in the day, we didn’t have the “block” system in school.

We studied the same subjects, in a seven-period day, for the entire year. Although retention of the material escaped me on occasion, the method of how it was taught is certainly different than today, too.

I’m not saying it doesn’t happen now, but teachers then worked diligently to make sure we understood what we were being taught. There was no “race” to complete the material in record time in hopes that students were prepared for what are now EOGs (end of grade) or EOCs (end of course) testing.

I had one teacher, in both middle and high school, who taught biology. She had two chalkboards full of information presented in outline form. It was an effective way to teach material and believe me, it was a great study guide for her tests and final exams.

During the elementary years, teachers allotted time for homework during class. We learned about “study halls” when we reached high-school age.

Many a morning I did last-minute homework or studied for a test while woofing down a bowl of cereal at breakfast. I did the same thing while riding the activity bus either to and/or from an away game.

To be truthful, the best times were my elementary years.

Each year, mom and I searched for the ultimate lunch box. I can remember carrying the Lone Ranger, some super hero or Scooby-Doo to school each day. I couldn’t wait to pop it open, gobble down my sandwich and chips and drink from a plastic thermos.

I’m sure many of you remember those.

Usually, the thermos contained sweet tea. Sometimes the ice melted, sometimes it didn’t.

They weren’t very big, so if mom added a lot of ice, there was little tea to drink.

Then again, I’m sure my teachers didn’t mind. The lack of a huge sugar rush prevented me from bouncing off the walls like a ping-pong ball during the afternoon.

As a “kid at heart”, I scan Amazon to see if vintage lunch boxes still exist. I’ve found Pac-Man, Snoopy, Star Wars, Rosie the Riveter, Aquarius and Batman. But no Superman, no Superfriends and no Wonder Woman.

Now we have insulated lunch bags.

I’m not a fan of them.

I’d rather carry a tin lunch box ANY day. It draws attention and brings back some awesome memories.

At least it does for me.

Rudy Coggins is assistant editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at


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