Working in the lunchroom had its advantages

Published 4:37 pm Monday, August 14, 2023

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John and Billy Hill were not the only boys who had a mom at school.  Mrs. Hazel Hill was a mom to all of us boys.  I did not realize that until after my freshman year in college when my mom confessed that Ms. Hazel had called my house.  My mom told me that she was concerned about me taking up money and my well-being to do so. Taking up money was a big responsibility and she could use me to do so.  She could replace a lady if I would help! In the past, we cared about education and five minutes out of class was a big deal both third and fourth periods.  Ms. Hazel just wanted to make sure that my mom and dad did not mind.

Five minutes before the end of third and fourth periods, I would be dismissed and go by the office and pick up a change box from Ms. Bowen.  After each lunch I would return it to the office and Ms. Bowen would count it.  Lunches were only 25 cents back then and we had no free lunches.

Washington High School’s cafeteria was in good hands with Mrs. Hill.  The ladies in the lunch room would get there before the students entered the halls. They would start cooking as we arrived and boy it smelled great.  The bus students would smell it first, because buses parked beside the cafeteria. They could tell whether it was one of our favorite meals or not and told us in homeroom. Kay Sharp and I agreed, that our favorite meal was tuna fish on lettuce, parsley potatoes and rolls covered in butter. Each week we had vegetable soup and peanut butter or fried chicken and creamed potatoes, covered in gravy.  Susan Sherwood Dawson said she loved cheese toast and tomato soup.  Sometimes we would have rice and gravy with green beans and that was a favorite of mine because I got all I wanted to eat by getting to the lunch room early.

Boys would go around seeking food from the girls because they were always on a diet or did not like the food of the day, so boys ate it trying to get big so they could play for the Pam Pack.  We always got two milks.

Regardless of the food, Ms. Hazel would always give me a bonus both at Christmas and the end of school year.  Young people, do not be afraid of what you volunteer for; it might help you.  Thanks Mrs. Hill!

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C. The Original Washington!

Harold Jr.