Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Day

Hurricane Sandy is heading directly at us.

The governor shut down the transportation system. The mayor had no choice but to close schools.


Friday I noticed a stack of cold cereal boxes by the principal's desk. He keeps them there for those days that stretch into night- it brought to mind a story from my early years.

I worked in a school that was the poster child for the devastation of the South Bronx.
Mrs.Nieves, the assistant teacher in my first grade class worked very hard surreptitiously collecting unopened cold cereal boxes in the cafeteria while supervising breakfast. She had to do it on the sly, the cafeteria staff chastised her when they caught her. They followed the rule- no food should ever be taken out of the lunchroom, unless it was inside a belly or a garbage bag.

Throughout the week she would stockpile the boxes in a closet in our classroom.
Friday she would take selected book bags from the wardrobe and stuff them with her hoarded boxes.

She knew which children would eat nothing but those boxes of cereal all weekend.

If you drive through the South Bronx today it looks nothing like it did when I worked there in 1978. The burnt out buildings have been replaced, the streets repaired and the stores occupied.

But I wonder, whether it is because of poverty, abuse or just dysfunctional family life how many children will not eat today because the schools are closed.

Schools closed.
Maybe, along as you ate something other than cold cereal all weekend.

1 comment:

  1. That is sad. It would be cool if apartment complexes and neighborhoods where a lot of people with very low or no incomes live would have some sort of place where kids could go to eat on non-school days. Like a soup kitchen, but super kid friendly. I read about one like that once, I think it was called Kid Kitchens or something, but they are pretty rare.