Laura Cunningham’s memoir A Place in the Country (2000) is suffused with romantic memories of a New York City park where she picnicked with her mother Rosie and eating lunch packed in a paper bag.

The sandwiches were made with Wonder Bread, soft bread with no substance, and fruit. Cunningham remembers she was about five or six years old when Rosie died, and the picnics became gauzy soothing memories that she called “romantick.”

“Rosie would spread out our picnic cloth. A classic red-and-white-checked square, and we would settle inside its borders and share the lunch she packed. Why were those early picnics such bliss? Why did the food taste so much better outside? Why did those meals nourish our dream of the country when, in reality, we sat only a few blocks distance from the screaming city sidewalks?”

Featured Image; Jennifer M’s “Laura Shaine cunningham.e (2008)

See Laura Shaine Cunningham. A Place in the Country. New York: Riverside Books, 2001; Nina Shengold. “Where the Heart Is.”  Chronogram, September 2008