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Beep Beep

Please, Mom, Pleeeeeeeeeeaase?!
Up until this point I had never wanted anything more in my little kid life.

And just then, a small miracle occurred, she said…yes.

I stood there, in Genovese Drug Store, trembling with excitement because right there, pressed against my chest, was all that I had been longing for since the Sunday paper thwacked on the doorstep.

My prayers had been answered, I was now the proud owner of The Road Runner Lunchbox.

I cradled it in my arms, like a square metal infant, and couldn’t take my eyes off of it... and that yellow handle just made my heart sing. I would frequently practice walking up and down the hallway, checking the mirror to see if I was displaying it properly.

I developed a fierce lunchbox walk.

When the first day of school rolled around I played it cool around my peeps.
Yeah. Road Runner, got the thermos filled with chocolate milk, PB and J, grapes, Oreos
 y’know..that’s how we do it…

but of course I was a lot less urban slangy and a lot more excited squirrel-like girly about it.

I think I nailed the lunchbox walk entering the school. As I remember it, it was slo-mo with a lot of 70’s fashions and wind-blown hair.
Curiously, the Phoebe Cates “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” pool scene music was playing, though it was years before that movie…
or maybe it was Sugar,Sugar by the Archies.

The true test was going to be lunch time.
The Caf.
See and be seen.
Display the metal proudly. I strutted in with my purple and yellow Road Runner blinging, I was working it, head up high.

I fookin’ owned Gym Caf A.

They see me rollin‘..they hatin’

Until Liz B informed me that Peter K had the same lunchbox.

I don’t know what bothered me more, this bit of news or the fact that Liz B was so damn happy to share it with me.

Peter K…ugh…
Peter K was the kind of kid who made explosion noises and pretended he was a tank or an airplane…pretty much non-stop.
His hair always looked like a hamster ran through it and his nails were always filthy dirty.
No one could ever really have a conversation with Peter K because he wasn’t much of a talker.
He'd just go “beep, beep” and take off if you were even able to get that close.

Not wanting Liz B’s news to own my moment, I looked around the Caf to see who else shared my taste in lunchboxes, a lot of Family Affair, a lot of Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Peanuts, Plaid, Archies, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Barbie…
But curiously?
it was just Peter K. and I that shared the same Road Runner lunchbox.

I'm a small following kind of girl.

So... according to Liz B this meant that I was somehow Peter K’s girlfriend…and she made sure the whole damn school knew about it.

 After lunch we all filed out into the playground. Those who carried lunchboxes lined them up against the outside school wall. It was quite a display. Kind of like a miniature, ankle high art gallery of 70’s pop culture. When recess was over you ran back and collected your lunchbox.

Or what you thought was your lunchbox.

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized my brand new Road Runner lunchbox didn’t look so new anymore.
I opened it up and realized it was, in fact, not mine at all. I had mistakenly picked up Peter K’s lunchbox.

Which meant, gasp, Peter K had mine.

I imagined it being dragged around, lit on fire and shot from a cannon.
I closed my eyes and prayed for it’s safety, I rocked myself to sleep and wished for the morning’s light.

I did not sleep well that night.

When morning came my lunch was packed in Peter K’s lunchbox.
 And that was just all kinds of wrong to me.
 I felt as if my lunch were staying in a motel, a temporary residence.

I couldn’t wait to place my lunch in it’s proper home.

As soon as I arrived at school my first order of business was to find Peter K, find my lunchbox and make things right. I had to make things right.

“Peter I think we switched lunchboxes.”

“beep, beep”

I grabbed him by the arms and looked him square in the eye. “Peter I want my lunchbox back.”

“I am the Road Runner, chase me”

Boy... I am not fookin' with you!
Of course I didn't say that...I don't think I even knew those words back then.

And so I chased Peter K right into the coat closet where he safely returned the object of my affection, much to my relief, in pristine condition. After we made the switch Peter K handed me a folded up piece of paper.

“You like the Road Runner, this is for you”

I opened up the paper and on it was the most beautiful colored pencil illustration of the Road Runner.

"To my lunchbox friend, Irene...From Peter"

And before I could say anything…..

“beep, beep”

He was gone...
but on my heels was Liz B.

“Hmmm…a love note?"

“Yeah.” I said, dismissing her and folding it up

"beep, beep"

Peace - Rene


  1. To this day, the smell of grape Kool-Aid makes me think of my metal lunch box. I think it had a race car on it. I didn't care much about the design. I didn't make explosion noises, either. I memorized half the periodic table, though.

    The Fred Effect: On Nietzsche

  2. I was working up a really witty response, and then I got all distracted by that Phoebe Cates scene, and...and...uh...where was I going with this? Witty, etc...I...yeah, that was nice :)

    (P.S.: I felt the same way about my Woody Woodpecker lunchbox)

  3. love it! i thought for sure that folded up piece of paper was gonna say "will you go with me? circle yes or no."

    AND i had that exact same lunchbox, sister! we are all kinds of kindred spirits up in here. xo.

  4. Fred, Irish and Marian...will you all sit with me in the cafe-gym-atorium?

    Yes or No

  5. That was a great story! I need to know what lunch box Liz B had.

    I wonder if Peter K turned out to be a really cool illustrator.

    Beep Beep

  6. I love the lunch box walk. I think that's an upcoming vlog, right? We need to see that.

    beep beep

  7. I loved my "Adam 12" lunch box!!!
    Thanks for another great write!

  8. i love those old metal lunch boxes...and if i was near liz b i could show you what else they are good for...good job rockin the walk...smiles.

  9. Robo-Chuck?
    Always remember your full metal jacket.
    Square metal infant.

    FL ~ the world is not ready for the Rene Vlog. Maybe 2012.
    Armageddon, right?

    Dean..swoon Adam 12 & the Emergency lunchbox.

    Brian...Ahh Liz B. Where the hell is she now?

    Catherine ~ Liz B had a Mod Squad lunchbox...which was rad, But this was my show here, today. Let Liz talk about her lunchbox on her own damn blog.

    And yes, I still talk to Peter K.

  10. Love it. I rocked the Partridge family lunchbox...Would happily sit with you at lunch.

  11. Road runner very cool! great memory & well told! Thanks-

  12. OAM - Yeah! That lunchbox was cool!
    Keith Partridge....sigh

    izzy - I am glad you liked it.

    Everybody! Lets sit together!

  13. I inadvertently deleted this comment by Ricky Shambles, I am truly sorry Ricky! But I'll cut and paste it for you.

    "Nice. I just met your blog and you've already made me tear up a little. Then again, I haven't been at my stable-est for the past few months.

    Excellent story, great blog. Follow!

    Oh, and I had an Empire Strikes Back lunchbox in gradeschool and a crush on the same girl for 5 years and not so much the gumption of Han to let the words pass my lips that would make us "go out."

  14. Oh, thank you for the save! You doubled my reasoning for following you. Cheers!

  15. Oh, man, that was so fookin' sweet. My real name is Peter by the way. I carried worms around in your lunchbox for a whole day.

    And call me Pete.

  16. I never had a metal lunchbox in which to carry my lunch. But this story? Is just so awesome, I feel as though I might have . . . in another childhood.

    You are all writery up in here!

    Love that!

  17. Ricky, Casey (Peter) and kris...

    Ricky, The gumption of Han. Heh

    Casey(Peter), I guess what I never saw never hurt me. I am going to take a Silkwood shower now.

    kris..thanks girl. I just want to buy you your very own, brand new lunchbox now.

    Love you all ~ Rene


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