The other common ground Louisa and I had was the weirdness of the lunch ladies -- how they get crabby, really don't like kids and how some can be downright weird. Louisa told me about one who she saw put both hands in her hair and then fluffed up the salad with the same hands. I was thinking it would be a funny Twilight Zone kind of thing if it were the same lunch ladies from 50 years ago -- they don't age; they live forever.
One thing that surprised me is that the price of a hot lunch is $3.75. And you have a debit card and your parents put money on your account to pay for lunch. My earliest memory of school lunch costs for a hot lunch was 20 cents. That would be circa 1956. Then it went to 25, then to 35, then to 50. I think when I graduated from high school, it was 60 cents. My sister (Louisa's mother) said she remembers her final price as $1.20. When I was in elementary school, the little carton of milk was 2 cents; ice cream pops were 5 cents. The other stray memory I have sounds really ancient now... my good friend from elementary school Hester would bring her lunch money (two dimes) wrapped up in a cloth handkerchief... remember when women had pretty handkerchiefs? And I can still picture her unwrapping the handkerchief to pay with those two dimes. I don't remember where I kept my money. I don't think I had a purse, or even a change purse -- probably in my coat pocket.