Tomato Soup, Felix, and the Beach

While I was growing up, the elementary school that I attended was located approximately four blocks from our apartment, so I’d walk to school every day. And it didn’t matter whether it was raining, sleeting, snowing, or whether it was sweltering hot or freezing cold – I walked, no matter what. After all, we were living in Minnesota, and we were used to all kinds of weather. We simply dressed accordingly and adjusted our attitudes as well.

My elementary school did not serve hot lunches, either, nor did we eat lunch at our school. As a matter of fact, all the studentstomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich lived within walking distance of the school; therefore, at lunch time, we all returned to our homes for lunch and then came back to school following lunch for the afternoon school session.

As I said, it didn’t matter if the weather was inclement; we walked no matter what the circumstances. And my mother would serve just the right lunch, too. For instance, if it was a blustery winter day, I knew that when I came home for lunch, she would have a piping hot lunch waiting for me. And my favorite hot lunch was tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. Whenever I ate my mom’s hot tomato soup, it always made me feel so warm inside, and the grilled cheese sandwich was always the perfect complement to the soup.

I loved going home for lunch. It meant that I could watch my favorite television program called “Lunch with Casey Jones.” This was a kids’ program that aired at noon in the Twin Cities during the 1960’s which featured a railroad engineer called Casey Jones played by Roger Awsumb, the host of the program. The show consisted mostly of cartoons, skits, special guests like animal handlers from the zoo, birthday greetings, and the occasional musical segment.

felix the catAs I think back to these long ago school days, memories of these cartoons flash through my mind. I can see the images of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester Cat, Tweety Bird, Elmer Fudd, Roadrunner, and Pepe Le Pew as they looked to me when I was only six years old. Then there was Lulu, Tom and Jerry, Porky Pig, Speedy Gonzales, Yogi Bear, Popeye, Olive Oyl, Baby Huey, Wile E. Coyote, and Yosemite Sam.

And even though I loved all these cartoons, my favorite of them all was Felix the Cat.  I absolutely adored Felix the Cat. There was just something about him that I really liked. I loved the way he looked, the way he acted, even his high, squeaky voice. And no matter what impossible situation he found himself in, he always, always managed to get himself out of. For some reason, I identified with him, and I’m not even sure why.

At the end of every episode, Casey Jones would read the birthday list for the day. Parents would send in the names of their children whose birthdays it was for that day and then their name would appear on the birthday caboose as Casey Jones read them on the air. After he read the names on the birthday list, he would sing the birthday song: Happy, happy birthday to every girl and boy; We hope this very special day brings you lots of joy. We hope the birthday presents you get from Mom and Dad; Makes this very special day the best you ever had! Each year, I could hardly wait for my birthday and to see my name on that caboose and to hear my name as Casey Jones read it on television. It was one of the highlights of my birthday.

And then, when lunch was over, my mother would make sure I was bundled up in my snow pants, winter jacket, scarf, hat, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmittens, and boots, and I would wave goodbye as I trudged off to school again for the afternoon session. I was content, having watched my favorite television show and being full after having eaten my favorite lunch. But… with the cold Minnesota winter wind blowing in my face, in the back of my mind, I’d be thinking, I can hardly wait for summer. Then I can walk up to McCarron’s Lake with my best friend, Laurie and we’ll go swimming or maybe we’ll just lie on the beach, side by side, each on our own favorite beach towel. Let’s see…how many more months will that be?

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “If  you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.”  ~ Tom Stoppard





  • I feel all warm inside after reading your post! 🙂 Such a beautifully written post with happy childhood memories. This is my favourite ‘Odd Trio’ post so far.


  • Share the same childhood stories. Just the climate and foods vary but otherwise the same emotions;) thanks for this post and I’d apprecate it if you’d post the recipe for that very special tomato soup since it sounds really yummy:)


  • Well…I do not live in the U.S. and to be honest, I haven’t left Europe yet but your post sounded just like my own childhood story 🙂 I believe children around the globe share


    • Well, gee, that’s nice to hear that it’s the same around the world. Where do you live in Europe? I would love to visit Europe some day. Thanks for stopping by. I hope your day is fantastic!


  • Hey–your comment section is like a gathering with new friends over for coffee. Like minded souls dropping in to say hi! What a refreshing comment section it is. I liked your post today. My favorite soup would have been Alphabet Soup of course. But I didn’t have a beach to go to–in the middle of the Nevada desert. Well I did have Lake Mead that we sometimes drove to for an outing. That’s the lake my brothers threw me in when I didn’t know how to swim. Oh my how I do go on. Sorry. thanks for listening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, I love to hear other people’s stories. That’s what the blogosphere is all about. I think it’s great, so don’t ever think that what you have to say is irrelevant to me ever. I love to make new friends. A blog is meant to be a conversation; that’s why the comment section was invented, and if I didn’t want the conversation, I would keep my blogs personal. The more, the merrier, as far as I’m concerned. You can talk to me anytime! It was great hearing from you and I hope I hear from you again. Thanks for stopping by and I hope your day is awesome!


  • Really enjoyed your reminiscences! Here in Sask we have the same cold winters — though I only had a block to walk to school, we were shooed out every day for recess — unless the temp hit -40 or it was storming.


    • That’s what I like about the prompts – they really do tend to bring back the memories, don’t they? And I love to write about my memories. Where is Sask – what state? Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day.


      • Saskatchewan is one of the prairie provinces in Canada. Sask and SK are abbreviations. Sorry.


        • No worries. Now wouldn’t you think that since Canada is SO close to Minnesota that I would have visited there? Not yet, though. For some reason, I’ve just never had the chance to get there, but I’ll have to come visit you one of these days. My husband’s been to the Boundary Waters several times and loves it up there. He says it’s beautiful country and whenever he goes he always tells me that he just hated to come back.


          • My Harmon grandparents were more adventurous. They moved here from Princeton,Minnesota to homestead; my husband’s dad came from Pipestone.
            I think the prairies are beautiful, especially in these last few years of deluge! 🙂


  • Great memories! I’ve lived in the Southwest most of my life so I can’t even imagine Minnesota winters…how funto go home for lunch, though…we had to stay ar school.


    • Funny how I can remember things so clearly from when I was six years old, but I can’t remember what I did yesterday! LOL! Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!


  • Great post! Bringing back all the childhood memories.


  • A beautiful reminiscence 🙂
    P.S. I still love those cartoons!!


  • I love tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich too, especially when it’s a ll gooey and ooey, Felix, wow those were the days 🙂


  • Tom Balistreri

    We share similar memories. The lunch, the cartoons. The era LOL. Good post.


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