Lucky Plate


As a third-grader I was never really into eating the school cafeteria food. I preferred my mom’s tuna sandwiches rather than their pizza. But when the school started to implement ‘lucky plate’ every Friday that all changed.  What was ‘lucky plate?’  I’m not sure who thought it up (maybe some bored teachers or penurious cafeteria workers) but every Friday one random plate from the hot food section would get a sticker put on the bottom. The person who got the plate received a coveted ice cream sandwich. When we kids went through the line to pick up our lunches, each of us crossed our fingers hoping to get the ‘lucky plate.’ (Doesn’t it remind you of Charlie Bucket longing for a golden ticket to the Wonka factory?)


The greedy little devils that we all were made Fridays especially popular. I lost count of how many pizza lunches I ate trying to win that prize. It would’ve been easier just to ask my mom for money to buy an ice cream sandwich! The closest I ever came to winning was sitting next to a winner. Watching that boy devour his treat was the last straw! I quit buying lunch and never entered another raffle again. Even now when I see blogs posting  opportunities to win a leather handbag or some letterpress cards…an inner voice reminds me- “Martha, you never won ‘lucky plate.’ What makes you think you’ll win this?”

(Bottom photo- Life Magazine archive, 1956)


4 thoughts on “Lucky Plate

  1. Martha you have me laughing out loud! This is the most hilarious story I’ve heard in a while. I can just see you sitting next to that boy and fuming while he ate his ice cream sandwich. And talk about some marketing genius from your school lunch ladies!

    I have a similar sentiment towards raffles and giveaways, only it pertains to the fact that never once in my life have i won a game of bingo. and i’ve played a lot of bingo. it’s just that the luck gods don’t smile on me that much.

    and anyway, wouldn’t we rather win games of skill? or at least that’s what we tell ourselves as the other kids eat their ice cream ;)

Comments are closed.