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White Bread

explanatory Essay
1851 words
1851 words
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White Bread

The plastic wrapper of a loaf of Wonderbread’s D’Italiano white bread is colored brightly with the primary colors one associates with childhood and kindergarten playroom activities. The swirling script lettering of the word D’Italiano makes the bread seem somehow more special than bread packaged with ordinary block lettering. On both ends of the shiny, clear wrapper, boldly colored round dots resembling bright balloons are arranged upon a blazing red background, conveying the joy and happiness the bread would bring to any sandwich and my fifteen-year-old life. Once, the bread represented a hopefulness and freshness that I hoped my life would someday acquire. However, the bread also served as a painful reminder of the dismal nature of our empty, barely paid for apartment that my single mother, sister, and I shared. The bread symbolized both the good and bad aspects of that particularly intense period: on the one hand, the potential to be just like any other kid my age, but on the other, all the things our small family lacked and my inadequacy at being what I considered normal.

Growing up in New Jersey, my sister and I were raised without a father in the house throughout most of our childhood. My uneducated mother always held at least two jobs to provide the barest essentials such as a roof over our heads and food in the kitchen. She was usually employed as a waitress or bartender, which meant late hours for her and a lot of time alone for my sister and me. During my early teenage years, I remember coming home from school on most days with a teenager’s typically ravenous appetite. However, I usually found our kitchen disappointingly void of any kind of snack food. Although the refrigerator contained mai...

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...sister’s lovely face greeting me at the terminal gate, all my negative thoughts vanished, and I raced to hug her.

During the visit, my mother and I went grocery shopping together at the same store I had frequented as a young teenager. The excursion seemed mostly uneventful until I spied the loaves of D’Italiano bread piled atop the shelves in the bread aisle. For a moment, I was transported back to that empty apartment where I had endured the most unhappy times of my childhood. The irony of the situation was that I was reliving the past while standing with my mother. She picked up a loaf and tossed it into the cart unaware of the profound effect the bread had on me. She turned to me and said, “You said you were hungry. Would you like me to fix you a tuna sandwich when we get home?” Stunned, I could only reply, “Yes, that would be fine,” and we moved on.

In this essay, the author

  • Describes how wonderbread's d'italiano white bread is colored brightly with the primary colors one associates with childhood and kindergarten playroom activities. the bread symbolized both the good and bad aspects of that particularly intense period.
  • Describes how their uneducated mother provided the barest essentials such as a roof over their heads and food in the kitchen.
  • Describes how they were amazed at the variety and amount of food in their kitchen cabinets and refrigerators. their empty apartment and its kitchen with only the necessities were painful reminders that their mother was gone most of the time.
  • Narrates how their mother purchased food symbolic of a family with no dysfunctions or financial worries. they felt happier and more secure when they found d'italiano bread on the kitchen counter.
  • Explains that they live in a suburban development where young children flood the streets to play street hockey, basketball, or whatever game is popular that day. the house is meticulously clean, something that their friends tease them about.
  • Narrates how they hoard food and avoid eating too much of a particular item for fear of it going bad before it is fully consumed.
  • Describes how their sister, who is a hoarder, was amazed at the enormous piles of merchandise covering her room in the reconverted attic.
  • Describes how they went back to new jersey for their sister's wedding and felt a surge of panic as the plane approached newark international airport. they had to deliberately talk themselves out of hysteria.
  • Describes how they were transported back to the empty apartment where they had endured the most unhappy times of their childhood.
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