Wednesday, May 17, 2017

History Lesson

A letter to Son Number Three’s Third Grade Teacher:

Dear Mrs. You-Must-Have-a-Metric-Ton-of-Patience-to-Put-Up-with-My-Child,

I wanted to send a quick note to explain Son Number Three’s lunch today. Of course, based on how we dressed our son today – in his flannel shirt, blue jeans with the rope belt, and straw hat - we are aware that it is the official third grade Rocklin History Week, and we’re celebrating everything 1800s.

We are super excited to be celebrating our third Rocklin History Week here at the elementary school, what with Sons One and Two already having participated when they were third-graders. Good times. We are not burnt out on this at all.

As you know, Son Number Three was required to dress all old-timey today and bring his authentic 1800s lunch to school in a bandana tied to a stick, instead of in his usual 2000s insulated lunch cozy.

I can assure you that in years' past, with Sons One and Two, their freshly-killed meat was haphazardly slapped between two slices of homemade hand-ground wheat bread, and those condiment-less sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper inside that dangling bandana, along with a Mason jar of creek water.

That’s just how we roll on Rocklin History Week. We’re all about authenticity.

So, I feel like I need to explain Son Number Three’s lunch today.

As you may know, he recently got a very non-1800s jaw-widening dental appliance installed in his mouth that is roughly the size of a minivan. As a result, eating standard foods has become difficult for him. He even has to cut his pizza up into little bites, which is obviously very un-American, and causing some family tension. It’s rough here.

So sandwiches – especially meat-filled sandwiches – are a thing of the past for him. Ever since the space shuttle Orthodonture docked in his mouth, he’s pretty much been eating pasta and apple sauce. As you can imagine, those are kinda hard to wrap in wax paper.

Fortunately, I was able to find an authentic 1800s solution.

Utilizing something called the World Wide Web, I did some research and uncovered the amazing and mysterious historical tale of Phineas Wooster. Based on what we know, and the substantial amount of information we don’t know, it is my estimation that Phineas may have been a time traveler.

Obviously, we’ll never know, but this little-known Rocklin-ite seems to have surfaced very suddenly in the mid to late 1800s right here in our hometown. Almost nothing is known of him, other than his strange propensity for stealing kerosene and whale oil from his unsuspecting neighbors, and his malodorous smelting operation.

(Side note: “Kerosene Thief” and “The Malodorous Smelters” would be good names for rock bands.)

What we do know is that he seemed to have an ahead-of-his-time knowledge of petroleum products and high tech manufacturing. Specifically regarding high-temperature plastics.

It seems crazy that this man isn’t a well-known Rocklin historical figure, but the internet doesn’t lie. He was a plastics innovator, almost one hundred years before plastics really made it on the scene. He made major strides in the areas of food preservation and storage here in Rocklin, and then he vanished as quickly as he arrived. He was rumored to have moved the entire operation to Ohio in the early 1900s, but that can’t be confirmed.

I have no idea why his line of amazing 1800s storage containers took so long to catch on after Mr. Wooster obviously pioneered the light weight, see-through storage container and rubber air-tight sealing lid right here in our proud little town, so many years ago.

But, again, the internet doesn’t lie. That totally happened.

So, anyhow, that’s why my son’s incredibly authentic 1800s Kraft Mac & Cheese and his true-to-the-time-period Treetop Apple Sauce were both in plastic Rubbermaid containers today. Just wanted you to know.

Oh, yeah. Phineas Wooster also invented Nikes and Spiderman socks. Crazy, right?

See you soon,


Copyright © 2017 Marc Schmatjen

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