Most of you know my sister and I share a strong Saturn Neptune signature. She reads here and emails remarks at times. Yesterday she wrote made some offhand comment about school lunches, it provoked my memory or so I thought. I called her today to find out.
“I got your mail, we didn’t have lunch at school, did we?”
“No we didn’t.”
“I’d forgotten. What did we do, pretend we had lunch? I remember now, it was a challenge every day. Lunch bell rings and you’re with your friends. You have no lunch and no money for lunch, what are your going to? You have to pretend you have lunch… ate it when no one was looking or I’d say, I’m not hungry.”
“I’d say that too.”
“Yeah, what a trip,” I said with a chuckle. “Can you imagine that?” I said stupidly since we don’t have to imagine it, we did it. “Yeah, I remember that now….”
We were on our own with this. My sister and I had independent lives and independent friends. I don’t know what all she would do but I would stand in line with everyone as if I had lunch money and then say I had to pee. I would hang out in the bathroom in a stall and then come out about the time everyone had finished eating and join in. As far as I know, no one ever knew. No one ever said anything.
My sister was smart and very popular in school. I was less popular but had an inner circle and since I’d skipped a grade and was younger than everyone, I was consider the brain of the school like a mascot. We did win 1st and 2nd place in the science fair in this time frame. No breakfast, no lunch, come home and eat newspaper.
I asked her if our brother had a lunch, though I knew he did. “Oh yeah,” she said. “He had breakfast, he had lunch, he had everything he ever wanted or needed.”
There are a million points I could make here but the one I want to make is to note the people around us. They threw us up as rock stars at this school… at all our schools for that matter. They could not see us at all.
It wasn’t that many years later I was dating a string of millionaires, spilling Cherries Jubilee down the front of my dress, showing up for a date with a tycoon, wearing a dress and riding a motorcycle, none of them could see me either. Jeez, man. This stuff seems pretty overt to me, what do you think?
I’d also mention the people who takes shots at me on this blog. Who do you think they’re fighting with because I guarantee you it’s not me.
PS, I look at that school lunch up there and I can vividly recall wanting one of those bad. I wanted to just touch the tray, see what it was like to carry one of those.
Meanwhile kids (and they were kids to me, even though I was much younger) would stand in line and bitch about what was on the menu.
I didn’t think what you would think I would think. I thought Little Match Girl things instead. And I felt dizzy.
Geez Elsa, I remember those lunches. They were about 30 cents in my school district, and you could get an ice cream sandwich for dessert for another 5 cents… I remember being hungry at lunch time and I had eaten breakfast, so when I think of what you had must have felt like…. it leaves me speechless.
Maybe I’ve missed it somewhere, and I’d totally understand if it’s not something you want to talk about, but I just have to ask…… what was UP with your parents???!!!
Pink, that would take me 7-10 books.
Wow that school-lunch pizza, it never changes! Square cardboard covered in ketchup and plastic cheese. Yum yum.
Thank you for sharing this Elsa. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself today and reading this and the post below just put it all right back into perspective. I don’t have the words to express how I feel about hearing what you went through, of course I can’t, but I just want to find those girls and take them to a safe place where they are never ever hungry again.
The thing I find most mystifing about all this is your parents. First that they let you go off to California when you were 11 without turning over the earth and sky to find you and now this unequal division of food amongst the children. I know many Mediterranean cultures favour sons, but this is something else…
When I was reading the bit about school lunches, I was thinking ‘I’d be surprised if nobody knew’ because when I was in school I’d always know who’d eaten enough and who hadn’t and try to share with those who hadn’t without offending their pride: ‘Oh I’m stuffed! Please help me finish this so my mother doesn’t shout at me about leaving my food’ etc.
The trick with that is that you can use those excuses once, twice, five times and then afterwards most likely you’re working a two-sided politness game in which you pretend not to know how hungry the other is and the other pretends to not know that you know.
Maybe this is because my culture was used to poverty and famine and I knew what to look for. Maybe it’s because where you were growing up this was not most people’s culture so poverty wasn’t on their spectrum and they really did take what you said at face value.
Saturn-Neptune can really easily mystify because it’s like a tiger raised by dogs that goes around thinking it’s a dog and not recognising other tigers, but in my experience at least it’s most often a reciprocal thing. They project, I project back… on some level it’s all illusion and the thing that stops me going insane is that on a fundamental level, behind the hurtful or blundering there is usually a good intent.
((Elsa)) I’m proud of you. It would have been easy to be bitter but instead you spend your days helping strangers.
I can see why you are such a good parent to your kids Elsa. Girl you have had a helluva life!!
Nina, I am sorry for these story pieces but I’ve no choice with a gargantuan story like the one I’ve got. You may be right re: other kids…. or not. We had various maneuvers and superior skills honed over a number of years, the scope is just too large to take on in this forum.
There were a lot of kids around us, I’ll tell you that. Especially my sister and it is easier to get lost than you might think if you’re motivated. Also while your explanation makes sense for some, there are a large percentage of kids who would blurt all kinds of stuff just by their nature and the fact they are kids and this makes me think we were mostly successful.
I personally had doings in the office. I was not in most of my classes for 2 years as they had no idea what to do with me I was so far ahead. They wound up giving me a job in the office – I spent the school day helping the secretary, calling the parents of truant kids and so forth (how Cap is that?). I’d have been about 9-10 at the time. What I am saying is I was able to say things like, “I have to go to the office…” various other elusive moves because I was already not of the population. I was out of step with the kids in the school already so it was not that hard to stay that way.
I will ask my sister if anyone ever said anything to her, they may have. Her group was older than mine, remember I’d both started school early and skipped a grade so I was 2 years younger than everyone and sort of a foriegn object any way you turn it.
Last, I’d say in the scheme of things this whole school lunch business is meaningless, at least it is to me. I could tell you literally thousands of stories and this is just one of them and a minor inconvenience by my standards.
Not that there weren’t days. Some days were very difficult when things stacked up.
The bottom line is this: We have no idea how we survived. Our survival was not an concern of either parent, you have to think along the lines of a prison camp or a concentration camp.
In fact I was told by one therapist I’d have been far better off in a concentration camp – I still struggle to understand why.
But maybe this explains why someone who has known me for decades (Scott) would remark that I could have written, “Man’s Search for Meaning” when I was 16 years old. I’d say he said that because it’s true??
Re: Nazis, I should add for the PC brigade, it is only sacrilegious to say something like that if is it not true.
elsa thank you for sharing your stories, i can’t imagine it is easy to do…
i believe you. people grow up in all kinds of environments and i’m not sure why other people don’t get this. i’ve read the frankel (was that the author?) book. in hindsight it makes me wonder if he (the author) had a friend in Jupiter.
Thanks for writing these stories. They are huge eye-openers. I would say that your reality was so far out that most people would not believe it to be true. They could just not imagine it. Growing up in such a situation, with no-one really looking out for your well-being…. I can only marvel at how you and your sister managed and what strong and loving person you are now.
Actually, have you read the book Matilda by Roald Dahl? It’s a wonderful children’s book about a very gifted lttle girl who is neglected at home and at school. The story is bizarre and fiction, except your story could be exactly that!!!
Knowing these things puts many other things in perspective. If you do decide to write the 7-9 books I would be interested in reading. Very much. You have knowledge of the dark side of reality & how to deal with it which is precious.
Thank you, Ambidee – Here is a bit: If you have integrity it doesn’t matter what other people do.
(And you can have integrity when you are very young…)
well, even now, with free school lunches available, parents need to fill out paperwork to get it. they can translate it and everything, but if there’s no motivation on the part of the parents, only so much can be done….
there’s a lot of kids who can fall through the cracks like this. i’d say it’s more common than a lot of people realize. yes, in america. yes, today.
PinkMinxx asked what I did not dare… the answer would have to be complex. Like Ambidee, I’d read those books also.
I’ll dare to take a shot at the therapist statement, because the only one relative, now in her 90’s, that was captive and liberated as opposed to all the other relatives who were gazed or in med. experiments – we know cuz records were released later on-… how to say… just accepted that there was a collective of people who went severely astray. And she was not a child and she had support with and from others, there was validation, she belonged to a GROUP, an eventually greater public one, who shared or witnessed the experience.
From this I assume the therapist meant that’s its harder to make sense from this for a child, with no external witnesses, in an isolated personal instance –it’d be more damaging or crazy making. I think he/she meant it’s ‘more acceptable’ if it comes from strangers and many others are there with you sharing the same experience, and you are not alone but senseless coming from from the people who created you and would be the ones to provide you the very basic necessities when they could have done so.
But I don’t know for sure, and I certainly don’t know if that’s true for you, or if you would have been better off. Either way you’re here now doing awesome. And helping people. I wonder about your Chiron. That Mars Mercury conjunction must have been a blessing, great mental strength (and obviously precociously bright!) and the Jupiter flavored Moon. I’m glad you weren’t completely isolated, that you had your sister and a good relationship with her.
I hope I was not way off here. Sorry if I’ve offended anyone.
grrr – she explained the statement succinctly, it just did not mean anything to me. That was years ago and I think about it sometimes but I have just never really got it.
Last night I mentioned it satori who understood the reasoning and while I can take other people’s word for this, I don’t feel it myself.
It is as if I am in a fish tank and people who have comprehensive information look at the scene and come up with a common read on it. That is fine but it is not how it looks from my angle, see?
In other words, you’re looking at me and I’m looking back at you but it’s swirly in both directions.
Right. I could not assume putting myself in someone’s else shoes here, only project my own interpretation, ( I have Mercury Neptune! ). So I wave back at you swirlies! 🙂 ~ ~ @~
Besides I have my own inner swirls to learn from: imagining What-If situations vs. experiencing them …
Reminds me of Delphi’s temple inscriptions: Know Thyself … Now that is something I understand well enough to know there is always more to understand. I went to wikipedia to ponder on that one.
I’m so sorry you went through all that amongst other things… I’m thrilled and amazed at your and your sister’s resilience and your adventurous and buoyant spirit, but the mother in me gets into a mighty fucking rage at neglect and mistreatment of children.
I’m a Cancer Sun and would literally rather starve than live with those I love not having enough nurture, so the idea of children that aren’t being nourished really is a double whammy to my core.
(But I do know there are plenty of other stories. My grandmother was growing up as a refugee in the wake of the WWI, and she and her three siblings were quite literally starving while the mother traded the last of the jewels the family had smuggled out for hats for herself in order to try and keep up some appearance of former respectability even though the rest were in rags. So I know there are all kinds of terrible things, but for me they just don’t compute).
Elsa, thank you for answering! I, too, would definitely read those books, or for that matter any book you would write.
Elsa is the quintessential poster child (poster “human being”) for happiness. Happiness is not a result of our circumstances. It comes from within each and every one of us.
I remain inspired by Elsa’s life’s journey of independence, integrity, effort, consciousness, forgiveness, acceptance, compassion, intelligence and service – not necessarily in that order! Again, thank you for your willingness to openly share your experience with us. I can only benefit from your dedication and work in this world.
Oh, let’s add generosity to that list 🙂
How come your brother got lunch, but both you girls got nothing? That’s sexist!
Elsa, for the first time I think I understand Neptune on the mid-heaven.
Toni, I think it is a lot more complicated than “sexism”. That’s just not what was driving this, it is much deeper.
Cherie – thanks.
«Toni, I think it is a lot more complicated than “sexism”. That’s just not what was driving this, it is much deeper.»
You say things like this and my “spider-senses” just go up – and I wanna make all sort of inappropriate question (scorpio rising), which are none of my bussiness. So I’ll shut up.
D., I think I understand (Venus-Pluto conjunction)!
Venus-Pluto conjunct in Scorpio I mean.
No words (((Elsa))).I use this link with classes. It’s a great way to introduce an awareness of hunger and cultivate philanthropy.