"Wake Up and Smell The Noxzema"

Itís strange how something can trigger
memories of the past that are buried
somewhere in your mind.
Yesterday, I picked up the Edina Sentinel
and sat down to rest a minute and to read
what was going on in the community.
I glanced down and saw the school lunch menu
for the week and  suddenly my mind was
back in Mrs. Jean Millerís 4th grade
classroom again.   I closed my eyes and
I could still smell the Noxzema.
You may think that is really weird and
wonder what that has to do with
school lunch but let me tell you a little
about Mrs. Millerís class.

Mrs. Miller was a good teacher and I
always remember how she used our
legal names when she spoke to us.
It made us feel rather grown up and
important too.  Instead of just the
normal Betsy, Ronnie, or Pamy, in
Mrs. Millerís class we were
Elizabeth, Ronald, and Pamela.

 Mrs. Miller was also very helpful and always
saw to it that we had everything we needed.
 For instance, when there was something
special going on in one of Baringís two
churches, the school children were allowed
to attend.  If there was something at St. Aloysius,
Mrs. Miller would take bobby pins and attach
folded Kleenex tissues in the girlís hair
so they would have a hat for
church.   (I remember wishing
I were catholic so I could have
a Kleenex hat but my mother
didnít think that was
really a reason to convert)

 There were a few of us in grade school
who helped in the lunch room.
After lunch each day we would stay
and clean tables, wash dishes, and do
whatever needed to be done.   I guess
they probably didnít print the menu in
the newspaper back then but it didnít matter
because you knew pretty much what
you were going to have to eat by the day
of the week.   For instance, we had roast beef,
mashed potatoes, and gravy on Wednesdays
and on Fridays we either had ocean perch
or tuna casserole.   I even learned to like
tuna casserole after a few years.

Of course to us kids, one of the benefits
of working in the lunch room was getting
a few minutes out of the classroom.
Friday was the best day of all,
however, because that was when we
had ice cream  bars for dessert.
  (This sort of made up for the tuna casserole).
After we were done with our work,
we were allowed to divvy up the left
over ice cream bars between us and
we would mash them up in a bowl
and eat them.  If attendance was
down that day, we might
even end up with 3 apiece!
We never told the other kids that we
got the leftover ice cream
bars because we were afraid if our
secret got out, they would all want
to work in the lunch room!

When we came back from lunch room duty,
Mrs. Miller would ask us to come up to her desk
and she would open her desk drawer and
offer each one of us some Noxzema to use
for  hand cream.   I remember how cool it felt
on my hands and I would cup my hands
to my face and breathe in the fragrance.

So, you see, thatís why Noxzema brings
back all those memories. So you see what
happens when you read the
local newspaper?  It can
bring back lots of great memories
even from a school lunch menu.
Sometimes itís good to
ďwake up and smell the NoxzemaĒ
and to remember being a child again.

Well, itís almost supper time and itís Friday soÖ
you guessed it, tuna casserole, and maybe
Iíll mash some ice cream bars in a bowl
for dessert just for old timeís sake!

Pamela R. Blaine
© January 2001

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