Memories Of Things & Carbs Past

I find it funny to start remembering things in the midst of trying to forget other things.

Here I sit perched on the precipice of becoming one year older and I do as I always do–I take inventory of my life and lament things that I did and didn’t do. And just when I think I’m about to embark on a heady vision quest, some idiotic memory will enter my head and pitch a make-shift tent and suddenly “OCCUPY LAURIE” becomes its own little unincorporated city in Psyche Town.

This morning as I was getting ready for work in the weeeeeeeeeeeee hours of the morning, the most random thoughts–as well as memories–invaded my cranial airspace.  Briefly, I wondered why tobacco lobbyists haven’t approached the issue of seeking more mass acceptance of this cash crop by trying to proclaim it to be a vegetable. I mean, think about it.  Then after that, I remembered for some reason, an old candy machine that stood in the hallway of my elementary school.

It looked a lot like this one–the mirror; the odd greenish/turquoise color,  solid metal and the hard, plastic knobs you had to pull that released this trap door thing that dropped the candy down. We only had slots for eight varieties at a time…sometimes there would be a piece of paper in one of the slots that was hand written. It read “Guess What?” It was filled with random candy. You tried that knob, you took your chances. I always suspected that row was filled with confectionary left overs that the candy guy had at the end of his refilling rounds.

But whatever the candy was, it was cheap. I remember it only cost a nickel. That was it and five cents could buy you some great candy.

I remember Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, your standard issue Hershey Bars….other varieties, too.    There were M&M’s (plain and peanut), Big Hunk and Chunkies, Three Muskateers, Life Savers, Sweetarts, diabetes  inducing SugarBabies and  Slow Pokes  to fall through to the open tray below and always in a thud.

A kid could hear and recognize that particular metallic sound for miles.

But there were other kinds of candies too.   I had to rack my brain to remember some of them.

Razzles were my first candy/gum combo experience. They were all raspberry in the beginning and came in white package. Tasted like ass.

I used to love Rally bars…peanuts and caramel covered nougat with a hint of malt. Tasty.  Hear they might be released. Hope so.

I also LOVED Marathon Bars. Remember them? Milk chocolate covered caramel in this odd, braided pattern.

I remember the TV commercials for Marathon bars. They starred Patrick Wayne (son of John..see above for rather cute mug) who as our hero, Marathon John, regularly confront villain Quick Carl for candy bar supremacy.

Remember when wax was considered both edible AND a musical instrument? These orange harmonicas actually played music but not well and tasted about the way they sounded.  People would actually chew this stuff.   As a candy treat?   Sucked.    As a musical instrument?  Sucked worse.

We bought the harmonica’s cousin, too.  Wax fingernail tips and big red wax lips.

I know everyone remembers Red Hots, but does anyone  remember this factoid about the Red Hots box?

Once you ate all the cinammonish heart-shaped candy inside, you could close the end of the empty box and because of the cellophane window in the front….remember??????

….you could blow into it and turn it into a make-shift kazoo that only played a few notes, then the cardboard got soggy and you had to trash it.

Why do I remember this? I’ve not a clue.

Anybody remember this subversive, communist plot??

Shake-A-Pudd’n.

It came with a shaker cup, a lid and your desire to eat whatever the scientists at the Royal labs concocted. You put powdered pudding mix in the shaker, added milk then shook.

Your reward?

Nice biceps and watery, tasteless “pudding”. Nasty.

The candy bar (if you can call it that) below was an experiment in terror.

I never understood this as a candy or a concept.

Lik-M-Aid which came in packets conveniently attached in an accordion pack,  was a sour, fruity tasting sugar that you could rail out in a shoe lace and snort….

Which we didn’t.   We just ripped open the top and poured directly in our mouths.   You could also lick that petri dish of a finger, stick it in and pull out an overtly sweet petri dish of a finger and consume Lik-M-Aid that way.

I used to see these Chick-O-Stick things in our house and thought it was freeze-dried chicken bouillon.

Or a piece of chicken jerky.   Never had one but I seem to remember hearing that it was a poor man’s ButterFinger sans the milk chocolate coating.

Never understood the fascination with a Zero bar…but I have a childhood memory about this candy bar’s wrapper and Polar Bears.   Can’t confirm that and my drug and therapy addled memory won’t let me forget it either.

Anyone remember Peanut  Butter Logs?  A crisp, shiny brown and white stripe outside with peanutty innards.   I remember two sizes: a large bar and the minis, perfect for candy dishes and Halloween  distribution.

Remember Firesticks?    They looked a little like this:

They were thin, hard candy strips….and they lasted hours.  I remember the plastic cellophane casing was a bitch to remove.  It would stick to the candy.   You could suck them down to a fine point.   Could be confiscated as a shiv in prison.   I remember Firesticks (cinnamon), but there were green apple and grape flavored sticks, too.

Cinnamon toothpicks

Muslin draw-string pouches of gum nuggets

And this crap???

Long strips of dual colored taffy in this wax paper container.   Again, nasty tasting.

And what the hell, remember these vitamins???

Chocks…though if I remember their taste, “Chalks” would have been a more appropriate name.

And Mother also gave us a daily heapin’ helpin’ of Vi-Daylin in the big, brown bottle with kids playing on it. This was a post breakfast ritual.    Thick, viscous and kind of lemony.

I have a confession to make. It involves Prell and this old 60’s commercial for the shampoo.

Remember the pearl in the bottle at the end? It slowly descended to the bottom of the bottom to prove how rich and luxurious the shampoo was and in a typical 6o’s thought process as bought and sold to us by McMann and Tate and other advertising agencies of the era, if the shampoo was that thick and luxurious, think what it could do to you hair?

I remember wanting to see how thick and luxurious Prell really was, so I conducted that experiment myself….with one of my mother’s pearls…..from her necklace.

I took fingernail scissors and cut the string myself. That pearl stayed n the bottle of that shampoo forever and went unnoticed . Mother was outraged when she found her loose Mikimotos strewn all over the bottom of her jewelry box. They were old (read: antique) so, she assumed the string had just rotted. I never let her think any differently.

I think this is going to have to be one of those rare deathbed confessions…either hers or mine.

I have a brand new fridge in my kitchen. It’s burnished aluminum with black accents–no fingerprints anywhere. I like it; it’s sleek and makes its own ice, but I’ve turned off the ice maker. I hate the way refrigerator ice tastes. I know it’s convenient, but I don’t like it and never have. I think it’s because I relate fridge ice with being so labor intensive.

When I was growing up, you only had ice if you made it yourself. There were various ways to do this, but most people had aluminum ice trays like this:

These were bulky and cumbersome and when and if the lever on top froze along with the ice, it was impossible to pull. You had to thaw it out by holding it under water and if you did, you often lost some of the cube integrity. God, these were a pain in the ass.  And oliterally could create frostbitten body parts…the cold aluminum would stick to your palm and painfully so.   If memory serves, the metal ice tray evolved into this plastic tray which you could twist each end to get it to release its frozen contents. Easier and slightly less demanding than their aluminum cousins, but still a pain.

I remember Kool Pops.  Plastic tubes filled with fruity liquid.   Stick ‘em in the Norge and in about a hour, you’ve got popsicles.  You’d push them up from the bottom.  I loved the cherry.

I spent my formative years (the Sixties) in a small town in South Texas, therefore, your candy, vitamin, freezer memories might be a bit different from mine.  My TV viewing might be different as well, but I think all of us over a certain age will remember  TV test patterns.    With the Heap Big Chief Head.   What was up with that???

More PC TV markets used T-Rex heads

I mean, I understand it’s always better to put SOMETHING on the screen when you have no other options, but what exactly were they testing back then? Wasn’t this just something to put up so the control room guys could go home? In the 50’s early to mid 60’s, there were no 24-hour “superstations”. Broadcast days had a defined beginning and end.

And speaking of the end of broadcasting days, we grew up in the San Antonio TV market and one or more of the stations ALWAYS played this video at sign off. It’s a poem called “High Flight” put to music. It was penned by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Remember this????

Interesting story behind this poem and it’s author. And his last name was Magee…not McGee.

This British poet and aviator but was killed in 1941, at the age of 19, while flying Spitfire VZ-H.

He was just 19 years old.

His aircraft was involved in a mid-air collision with an Airspeed Oxford. The two planes collided in cloud cover at about 400 feet over a small British village. Magee was descending at the time.

At the inquiry afterwards a farmer testified that he saw the Spitfire pilot struggling to push back the canopy. The pilot stood up to jump from the plane but was too close to the ground for his parachute to open, and died on impact. “

Magee’s posthumous fame rests mainly on his sonnet High Flight, started on 18 August 1941, just a few months before his death. He had flown up to 33,000 feet in a Spitfire Mk I, his seventh flight in a Spitfire. As he orbited and climbed upward, he was struck with the inspiration of a poem—”To touch the face of God.” He completed the poem later that day after landing.

Magee enclosed the poem on the back of a letter to his parents. The manuscript copy of the poem remains at the Library of Congress.

Magee is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Lincolnshire, England. On his grave are inscribed the first and last lines from his poem High Flight:

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth –
Put out my hand and touched the Face of God.

Oh yeah???
Well I’ve done that too, man…but with a hit of Window Pane and a little Black Sabbath.

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3 comments

  1. If I am not terribly mistaken the tv screen that originated on the old tv sets did have a purpose, in manufacturing for one thing, the circle screens were used as a adjustment screen for the linearity and focus etc, before a tv is sent out to be sold, as for the remainder of the tvs life, I’m not sure, but just to let you know, it did have a purpose LOL.

And now, you may opine your ass off...

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