Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Piece Of Americana Takes A Long-Overdue Permanent Vacation

Bye Bye!
The Chicago Sun-Times has a story about those little paper half-pint milk cartons that we all grew up with. It seems though a milk-industry study says (what the kids and teachers always knew) that children don't like them.


When I was a KidWonk many years ago, in the central Florida town of Winter Haven, neither me nor my school-mates could stand the things. Day after day, year after year, we were forced-fed plain whole-milk. Chocolate milk or juice were not options, and would not be for some years.

I can still remember the tiny red and white cartons, each one marked, "Velda Farms."

Many times, the milk that they contained was rancid. (This is a word that we used, and is still used by my students today. Seemingly, the word rancid is used only to describe the taste of milk.) The schools served us the stuff anyway.

Before I obtained my full-time teaching job in California, I did a little substitute teaching in the lower grades. I spent quite a bit of time opening those little paper cartons for students in kindergarten and first grade.

These demonic little cartons are being phased out in favor of plastic bottles with easy to open tops. Usually, I tend to wax nostalgic whenever some little slice of Americana is sacrificed on the altar of modernity, but I'll make an exception in this case. In fact, I say good riddance.

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