Funny What Triggers Memories

This week I reorganized the kitchen cabinet that held all my zip-lock bags, aluminum foil, and food wraps.  I found a box of waxed paper I must have bought three years ago when we moved here.  I decided to use it when I wrapped my husband’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich I made for him for lunch this morning.  I tore off a sheet, leaving enough extra wrap to fold over and over itself until it was snug against the bread, and then I folded the sides into triangles and flipped them underneath.  That simple act brought back so many memories.

Roger Sherman Elementary School in Fairfield, Connecticut.  My mother always wrapped our sandwiches in waxed paper. My favorite sandwich was balogna with yellow mustard on plain old white bread, Wonder Bread in those days.  My brother used to take a piece of that soft bread, wad it up into a little ball, and pop it into his mouth.  I’m sure there was nothing nutritious in that balogna lunch, but I wanted it every day, day after day, wrapped in waxed paper.  I guess you could say I was full of baloney.

My mother found other uses for waxed paper.  We ironed fall leaves between sheets of it, we rubbed the steel slide at school with it to make it faster, and my mother would cut a square of it to wrap around the heel and back of our shoes in the winter so we could get our boots on.  Ingenious.

Anyway, I didn’t have anything much to write about because my brain cells have been occupied with NaNoWriMo, as you well know (43,290 words now), but I just had a little thought about waxed paper and I thought I’d share.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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31 Responses to Funny What Triggers Memories

  1. notquiteold says:

    Great memories in this post. I liked peanut butter and jelly as my waxed-paper wrapped sandwich. And I certainly pressed fall leaves in sheets of waxed paper.
    And as to bologna sandwiches – I have a friend who takes care of a severely disabled man. The social worker on a quarterly visit criticized her for giving him a bologna sandwich every single day. So the next day she gave him a tuna salad sandwich. The old guy said, “What are you doing? Trying to kill me? I want my bologna!”

  2. Pingback: Oh For An Original Thought | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

  3. Leah says:

    You are doing awesome at NaNoWriMo! Congrats. I love the simple wax paper story. And I agree that little things really do bring back such strong memories.

  4. judithhb says:

    isn’t it amazing Susan how one small thing, smell or song can transport us so easily back to another place and time? Thanks again for sharing – and 43,000 plus words. You are a novelist par excellence!

  5. I can identify with all of the previously mentioned memories for wax paper. I also used to iron crayon shavings in between wax paper to create a colorful mosaic. Am I the only one who uses wax paper to cover a dish (or biscuits) being reheated in the microwave? Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who doesn’t know I’m poisoning myself by using it in the microwave…

  6. pattisj says:

    This does bring back memories. I think I’m ready to write again! Great job on your word count, Susan! I don’t remember our sandwiches being wrapped in waxed paper, but I ate my share of bologna and mustard, and cheddar with Miracle Whip. Now I’m getting hungry, too! Maybe that will be my reward for reaching my word count today. 🙂

  7. E.C. says:

    Wax paper brings back memories to me much like yours. Ah, those were the days, I remember when the love & security that went into the sandwich was more important than nutrition. Thanks for sharing this. You gave me a nice smile. 🙂

  8. Those of us from the same era fondly recall those memories around something as simple as waxed paper….the neatly wrapped sandwiches made with love by our moms and tucked into our lunch boxes, the fall leaves pressed between two sheets, (we also melted crayon shavings between waxed paper and made ‘stained glass windows’ at Christmas time), adding some shine to the sliding board for a little extra zip… sweet and nostalgic thoughts. Thanks for reminding us to take time to say thanks for the simple things of life!

  9. Your post brings back similar memories..sigh!

  10. yen says:

    Oh, now I have an idea for my class’ next art activity! Iron leaves between sheets of wax paper. I didn’t know we could do that; we’ll try that this month. I love your mom’s ingenious and unique uses of wax paper.

  11. Huffygirl says:

    I remember the wax-paper wrapped sandwiches too – brings back fond memories. I efforts to avoid the over-use of plastic, I used to try wrapping my kid’s sandwiches in wax paper too. But once you’ve used plastic sandwich bags, you see that the waxed paper just does not do the job. Too bad, because it brings back a lot of memories unwrapping those sandwiches, and is better for the environmen. Thanks for the memories.

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks for your comment, HG. I find the plastic sandwich bags aren’t quite big enough to fit the oversized bread nowadays, especially if you stuff the sandwich full of sprouts and tomato and lettuce, etc. My mother had a knack of wrapping a sandwich so tight and neat, the wax paper never unfolded.

  12. Shary Hover says:

    Thanks for leading me back to my lunch box. My favorite sandwiches were peanut butter and american cheese. I still love cheese on almost everything, but that combination sounds revolting to me now. What could I have been thinking?

    I haven’t caught up to you yet. I’m at 29,000 words but still plugging away.

    • Coming East says:

      Good for you, Shary. You may beat me yet, since I’m still fairly stuck. And I have no idea what you were thinking when you put cheese on your peanut butter sandwich. Yuck!

  13. What a practical small act of love that your mother wax papered your heals. I can see pulling out the scissors, cutting a square, bending down to help place the square so it wouldn’t move out of place.
    We lined our cake pans with it. Imagine my surprise when I found out so many other people flour their cake pans. Still lining the cake pans with the wax paper, although it takes extra time, works for me. I like your title. Funny What Triggers Memories.

  14. 43,290 words! WOW!! Way to go! As for waxed paper, the second I started reading this, I thought of the ironed leaves — which I loved doing as a child and with my kids. I still use waxed paper, especially for covering hot things when I put them in the fridg (more permeable to let steam out), and for baking. It is so interesting what brings those memories flooding back…. now speaking of back… I’m getting back to my editing! Great job w/ the writing!

  15. It’s the little things in life isn’t it? I loved all your uses for the waxed paper, maybe I’ll be able to use some soon. 🙂

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