When I saw the bagels at the conference I attended yesterday, it was like I was back in high school again, just for an instant. At my high school, we had a tradition every Friday of eating bagels during homeroom. Not all homerooms dealt with bagels the same way, but my homeroom had our act together. We created an alphabetical list so that each week, a specific person would be responsible for bringing our homeroom bagels, and they would know about it for weeks (months, even) in advance. We took our bagels very seriously; my homeroom teacher even kept a bagel slicer in his classroom.
Oh, those bagels were delicious. I’m not even really a big fan of cold bagels (I prefer them toasted), but for some reason, on those Fridays, bagels were perfection. When it was my turn to bring bagels, I’d generally bring a selection from either Bruegger’s or Panera. My personal favorites were the Cinnamon Sugar bagel with Honey Walnut cream cheese from Bruegger’s and either the Asiago Cheese bagel or the Cinnamon Crunch bagel from Panera, depending on whether I wanted savory or sweet. It wasn’t always bagels — I once made scones and brought fresh whipped cream, and a fellow student used to bring homemade chocolate-covered strawberries (that was a really good day) — but bagels were traditional.
Other homerooms weren’t so together — my best friends’ homeroom had no schedule, so people would bring bagels when they felt like it. That meant that some days, they might have three different people all bringing bagels for homeroom. More frequently, however, they simply wouldn’t have bagels and would go door to door hoping that other homerooms would have extra bagels.
It was a lot of fun, and it was nice having a tradition. In retrospect, it was a bit problematic, given that it assumed students had the money to buy the bagels and cream cheese. It was generally expected that the bagels would be from a bagel shop (Bruegger’s, Panera, etc.), not just picked up at the grocery store, and be accompanied by several containers of cream cheese. From a quick Google search, that comes to roughly $20-25 (assuming two dozen). I think we were typically responsible for bagels twice a school year, so that’s about $50.
For most students, that probably wasn’t a big deal. I know that my parents never complained when it was my turn. But it was just one of many ways that my high school’s traditions and students took for granted that everyone would have a fairly high amount of disposable income. Class was very rarely, if ever, discussed explicitly, but it influenced nearly everything at the school.
Still, when I saw bagels yesterday morning — even though it’s been almost five years since I was in high school — I still thought of eating bagels with my homeroom in high school, and it made me smile.