My son is in first grade. He loves it. He brings his lunch to school. One day, he was complaining about something I put in his lunchbox. I suggested he try what I remembered doing, which was trade what he didn’t like with another kid. He immediately cut me off, “we’re not allowed to trade.” And then my wife chimed in, “because of allergies.”
I think of myself as pretty open minded, but in all honesty, this bugged me. I don’t know why. Perhaps I felt like others were intruding on my memories and the opportunity to share them with my son. It happened another day when I made him a peanut butter and honey sand which. “Dad, I can’t bring that to school, because one of the kids is allergic to peanut butter,” my son said. “You mean you can’t eat a peanut butter sandwhich in school?” I asked in a tone clearly suggesting I was annoyed. Fortunately, when I spoke to the teacher she informed me it was Ok if he sat at the peanut butter table.
So just when it appears we have opened up as a nation in our support for Barack Obama, segregation in the schools continues between the peanut butter eaters and the just say no to peanut butter people. If you are thinking I need to read the latest research on peanut allergies or see a kid suffering with it, don’t bother. I’ve already had that happen when I’ve expressed what I’m writing. I thought we were entitled to freedom of speech, even on sensitive matters like peanut allergies.
I’m not disputing the evidence or the realty of the allergies, but I am saying it makes me wonder about the hundreds of kids I knew as a child. How did those kids manage? Did anyone know? Has anyone gone back long after childhood and sought reparations from Skippy or Jiffy peanut butter as other victims/survivors have?
In some ways, if I was told children have bologne or headcheese allergies, I’d probably have an easier time understanding their struggle.