Sunday, April 19, 2009

I remember when chocolate bars cost a dime. And three musketeers were the biggest - best value for money - except for the fact that the center was a bit too fluffy and curiously unsatisfying. Charleston chew lasted the longest, but it tasted more like marshmallow than chocolate. Chunky was pleasing in concept - a fat square of chocolate - except it had raisins in it, which was totally unacceptable. Butterfingers were too peanutbuttery and papery, bit O' honeys weren't even chocolate, and hershey bars were just too plain-Jane. Almond joy and mounds were too small and cocanutty, so in the end, with whatever was left over from my 25-cent-a-week allowance, it was always a toss-up between milky way or snickers.

I remember sitting on the stone stoop outside the kitchen door, a week after school was out when I was eight or nine, wearing shorts and nothing else, eating toast with butter and brown sugar sprinkled on top.

I remember the arduous task of taking off wet snow clothes in the basement - layer by layer, first jacket and then snow pants, and then jeans, all the way down to my long underwear - and hanging them up on the line in the furnace room, and the smell, like wool and rags and little-kid sweat and snow all mixed together.

What do you remember?

(This is all spurred on by my reading artist Joe Brainard's odd little masterpiece, I remember. Rustle up a copy for yourself, you won't be disappointed. And I was shocked at how many things I remembered that hadn't changed in the 20 years between our two childhoods.)

The Swedish verb for the day is att komma ihåg, which means to remember.

14 comments:

JLundell said...

Mars bars, baby. Not, of course, the later ones, but the ones with whole almonds embedded in the chocolate. All gone now....

Charleston Chews were best frozen, though I wasn't generally a big fan of frozen candy bars.

There were some real stinkers, too. Clark bars spring to mind. Yuck. Oddly, Chicken Dinner, despite the name, wasn't all that bad. Made by Pearson, whose Salted Nut Roll, though not chocolate, was one of my favorites.

lynneguist said...

You got a lot more candy for your money if you avoided chocolate completely--which we did, because we were going for volume. We had a neighborhood 'club' whose only purpose was to earn money (usually by selling cups of Kool-Aid to passers-by on the street) in order to buy candy at Woolworth's. Best value for money: Necco wafers, Pixy Stix, and those wax bottles with sugary water inside. I hated Necco wafers but bought them anyway, put a half-slip on my head in order to play a bride or a nun (depending on my mood) and played 'church' in which my neighbor would solemnly hold up a Necco wafer and say 'Body of Christ' before depositing it on my tongue. But never the black ones; they were just too disgusting.

sue18 said...

I'm a bit older than you. Coke came in 6 oz. bottles in the mid-forties. The theme song for Pepsi was "twice as much, just a penny more." And there was a penny deposit on bottles.

steph said...

I remember the girly girls with their every color flair pens clipped to the outside of their assignment notebooks and the watermelon Jolly Rancher candy they ate.

I remember the freedom to get lost in the ravines when I was supposed to walk between jr. high and the library. And I remember getting caught trying to slip a copy of Mad magazine into my bag on one of those trips.

I remember the first 45 I bought was in a bin from Woolworths - Elton John, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

Lee Wind said...

Loved those images. And yeah, the smell of little kid sweat and snow and wool is kind of a Proustian Madeleine, isn't it?
I remember showering in the morning before school and (because I never really dried my hair very well) icicles would form into crunchy rows on my head while I walked to the bus stop.
Fun to remember the cold when it's so hot outside today.
Namaste,
Lee

Francis S. said...

Steph - where and when did you grow up? It sounds frighteningly - from the flairs to the jolly ranchers to the ravines - like where I grew up, in the 70s, in Highland Park, Illinois

steph said...

That's because it was. Confession: I saw your jr. high post. I landed here via Andy in Amsterdam, who I used to work with, one day when I was blogroll surfing earlier this year. I moved to San Diego after 7th grade. I don't think I know you though, or if I did I don't remember. I would have been class of '81.

Robin Shadowes said...

I miss the old classic coke bottles from my younger days in the 60's and 70's. Wasn't it designed by either a swede or a swedish immigrant? Was it plastic that made it obsolete? Sorry for drifting away from topic.

Francis S. said...

Whoa. Small world this is, Steph! I was class of 1979. So... you would've been the same age as maybe my neighbor, Debbie Dioszegi? Ring any bells? (And, well, Francis Strand is a pseudonym...)

Anonymous said...

Reading these entries makes me feel wet behind the ears. I was a kid when Britney Spears first came out.

I'm surprised to hear Francis Strand is a pseudonym. Though I suppose that's foolish of me. If I were to write a blog about my life I would want to maintain my privacy.

steph said...

Perhaps a tinkle? I was pretty flabbergasted when I stumbled in here too, I mean, what are the odds? The only neighbor I can think of two grades older than me is maybe Laurie Becker or maybe Nancy or Dorrie Saltzman. The Saltzmans used to babysit us so maybe they were older than that. Laurie never liked me because...

I remember getting chased out of the neighbor's wooden playhouse the day we moved into our to our new house because I didn't know where our back yard ended and theirs started so I didn't know the playhouse wasn't mine.

Francis S. said...

Lori Becker... yep, she was my age. She used to claim to be my cousin, because we both had red hair. This is definitely a bit freaky.

Golden Grain Farm said...

Did you know that Canadian children boycotted chocolate bars when the companies first put them up above a nickel? The boycott made quite a splash until the propagandists got to the parents, convincing them that the children were being influenced by "red" Communist politics, and the parents made the kids end their boycott.

Sorry I can't tell you more about it; just that it was a long time ago.

- Kate

Pia K said...

Nice post. It's weird how easy it seem to be to remember a lot about childhood sweets, perhaps that is just because us Swedish kids got sweets just on Saturdays and it was kind of sacred...? I must admit I can't recall the names of every candybar back then (some still around, others not. The ones still around is sadly of lesser quality than they use to be) but what I do remember is that you really got a whole lot of candy for just about nothing moneywise. And how fun it was to stand at the kiosk and decide on exactly what sweets you were going to get in your "lördagsgodispåse" this time...:)

 


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