The best tuna fish salad sandwiches in the world lived next door to me, and no one had to go fishing for them. My Aunt Sylvia made them. I never saw her make those sandwiches. They simply appeared on the table when we got home from school for lunch, if I was having lunch at Karen's house. What made her tuna fish taste so good that I abandoned my own mother at lunchtime once in a while? I knew Aunt Sylvia used Freihofer's bread and Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, just like we did. The difference had to be the tuna. My mom bought Star-Kist tuna; Aunt Sylvia bought Chicken of the Sea. My aunt was also a fountain of information and never minded answering my endless questions. Between bites of sandwich, I asked: "Why do you only have one child? "Could you put nail polish on me? "Do you think Hydrox cookies are better than Oreos? "May I look at the magazines after lunch?” Aunt Sylvia's movie magazines were a crucial part of lunch at her house. After I wolfed down a second sandwich, and put my dishes in the sink, I had permission to rummage freely through the breakfront, whose top two drawers were stuffed with dozens of heavenly magazines: Silver Screen, Screenland, Motion Picture, Hollywood Stars, Screen Fan. Time for cookies and more questions: “What does 'divorce' mean? “What are your cigarettes for? Could I try one? “Rita Hayworth is very pretty - do you think she likes tuna? “Where is ‘Tinseltown?' Can we go there?” Always too soon, lunchtime was over. Time to put the magazines back in the drawer, run upstairs to the bathroom, run down again, grab my school bag, and stop next door for a minute to say hello to my mother before I walked back to school. Along the way, I thought hard about growing up. I loved being a kid. But if growing up and getting married meant I could stay home smoking cigarettes, eating tuna, polishing my nails and reading movie magazines all day like Aunt Sylvia, I was ready to do it at age eight. I'd have to ask my parents if school was really important, and if I could quit soon and get married sometime soon. Maybe at age nine.
1. Open a can of Starkist tuna. 2. Drain. 3. Put in a bowl and mix with mayonnaise but without celery. 4. Spread between 2 slices of bread (cut crusts off). 5. Put on plate. 6. Serve to hungry children.