Adventures in the lunchroom: My return to the school cafeteria

Published 12:05 pm Sunday, February 25, 2024

One of my assignments this week required me to visit a school cafeteria, and by chance it was Beechwood Elementary School, where my grandsons attend.

Unfortunately, their lunch time did not coincide with my visit, so I wasn’t able to give them a hug; however, I was able to fulfill my task, which was to talk with one of the cafeteria workers and take a few pictures of the lunch line.

The story I am doing is for the upcoming Profile Magazine, which we do once a year.

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This year the theme for the magazine is numbers, so as you can imagine, I have an array of avenues I could travel down in
connecting school cafeterias and numbers. And with a deadline looming, I need to get cracking on my story soon.

But for now, I thought I would just highlight some of the things I observed on my visit.

First off, it smelled good in the cafeteria.

I had not thought about food before I arrived at the school, but after getting a whiff of the menu, my stomach began to rumble.

It also looked tasty, which I learned is very important for children. I wanted to tell the cafeteria worker that shared this information with me that food also needs to look appealing to us adults, at least this one.

I don’t care how much you tell me about something tasting good, if it doesn’t look appetizing, I am not wasting calories on it.

I also observed in the school cafeteria that children now-a-days have options when it comes to school lunches, and I am not
talking about eating in the cafeteria or bringing a lunch box.

School cafeterias now allow the students to choose either a hot lunch or a “grab-and-go,” or what I would call a cold meal, like a

Boy have things changed since my days in the Jett Elementary School lunch line. There were no choices then. You were served what every other kid in the lunch- room got. That was unless you brought a sack lunch, of course.

The other thing I noticed while I was at the school cafeteria was how friendly all the cafeteria workers acted.

There were no grumpy faces or scowls, just kindly workers.

And I don’t think this was just due to my presence. The reason I say that is because these women engaged with the students — calling them by their names, etc. And in return the children responded in kind, which couldn’t have happened had they not already had a friendship with one another.

When parents send their students to school, sometimes they might wonder what their child’s day will be like, but from the looks and smells of the Beechwood Cafeteria, I was certain my grandsons were in good hands during lunch time.

And how could I be so sure of this?

Well for one, from all I observed and, oh yeah, there was one other little thing that might have played a part.

In hopes of seeing one or both of my grandsons, I asked what grades were eating their lunch while I was there. It was the third
grade. Well, I perused the room looking for my youngest grandchild and he was nowhere to be found.

I asked one of the workers, and she looked him up on the computer. Come to find out, my youngest grandson is in the second grade. And if it that wasn’t bad enough, I had also forgotten what grade my oldest grandson was in.

Needless to say, these cafeteria workers might not have had as glowing remarks about me as I did of them.

When I left, I wondered if they discussed my lack of grand mothering abilities.

Probably not. Those ladies seemed kind. They probably just shook their heads and said, “Bless her heart.”

Terri Cowart Frazier writes features for The Vicksburg Post. She can be reached at

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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