Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Sugar Fueled Dreams - Childhood Memories

My brother and I were raised on the sugar sweetened joy of the 60's.   My favorite Western RanchHands were Twinkie the Kid and the Hostess Cupcake. We drank Koolaid (Soda Pop was an expense that was only the rarest of treats in my house), or better yet, cold water from the garden hose. We watched TV when we could, but mostly we ran, we jumped, we covered miles of ground on our bikes. TV was a treat, not a weekend-long marathon and the backyard was our empire, one of constant motion. None of us had an ounce of spare flesh on us, we were lean and healthy from all the outdoor playtime.

And our cereal came with prizes in the box.

When did the cereal prizes disappear? I'm sure, as most children did, I drove my Mom crazy begging for one type of cereal over another, depending on what toy was inside. The toy would be buried deep down, and we'd have to eat about half the box to get to it. Of course there were those times Mom left us alone briefly while Dad watched football, and with the help of a large mixing bowl, the toy was liberated soon after purchase, the bowl then cleaned (here boy!) and put back in the cupboard. But that didn't happen often so normally the prize would plop down into our bowl about half way through the box. What a treat that was!

Most of the toys plastic figures were slightly larger than Monopoly counters – animals, trains, cars. Sometimes there were decoder rings, badges and other trinkets promoting TV adventure shows. Sometimes the prize was a cut out on the back of the box that could be made into a toy, there were even cut out photograph records on the back.

One of the cereal toys I've never forgotten was a plastic submarine. On its bottom was a tiny container into which you placed baking powder.  The sub would then dive underwater and resurface on its own, again and again. I loved that toy and spent a lot of time with it in the bathroom sink and in the bathtub.

Big Bro spent his years after school on a real submarine, so perhaps all that play with those things had some effect.
The non sweetened cereal usually didn't have a prize, but it would have a coupon where you could collect box tops and send away for a prize. The sugar laden cereals usually had the prize right there. The prize might sway our decision but our favorites remained unchanged. Were they healthy? Not particularly. You'd have to add an orange grove and an entire pig to be a "complete breakfast", but that's not why we ate them.

Sugar Pops - My personal favorite. The original cereal was just Sugar Pops. Then they added the word corn, then they dropped the word sugar, then they dropped the corn thinking kids didn't want to eat a bowl of corn, now they're just Pops. That was one thing I liked about that generation. They weren't afraid to use the word sugar. They were PROUD of the word. Then they filled everything full of corn syrup which is worse for you and simply changed the names. Not only was the cereal great tasting (I still eat it before big presentations at Secret Squirrel headquarters), but the concept was cool. Blasting sugar onto the cereal with a gun? How cool was that? The earlier boxes that my  brother remembers even had special offers for a "Colt six shooter".

Sugar Crisp -The sugar bear started out as your average bear, then later got fashion sense (though no pants) and this laid back groovy persona. The Sugar Bear was the cool dude your retired military Dad NEVER wanted you to date (attitude and no pants, never a selling point with my Dad). He was so popular some kids went as Sugar Bear on Halloween. Or maybe that was a real bear in our garbage can that night.

In the 70's they came out with a Super Sugar Orange Crisp that had little sour orange bits in it. The sweet and sour was enough to keep you bouncing off of walls for days. It didn't last long, probably banned by the PTA.

Alpha-Bits - like Cocoa Puffs, as a kid I was on the fence about these. They were OK, , but as an adult I thought they tasted like hamster food. It was fun to try and spell words in your spoon though, except for that time I tried out a NEW word which I heard my Dad use when he dropped a tool on his foot, which my Mother did NOT find amusing.

Sugar Smacks - Start your day the Sugar Smacks way. Dig em the frog was OK, but not as cool as the bear. However even Spock could have figured out they were the exact same cereal as Sugar Crisp.

Frosted Flakes - one of the few breakfast cereal that hasn't changed, been improved or altered (I cringe when I think what they've done to Trix over the years). I used to eat it dry, in a little bowl with my fingers, watching Scooby Doo (those meddling kids!) because it it lasted about 10 seconds in milk before going limp.

Froot Loops - not sure where Toucan Sam got the English Accent in the 1970's but it was a house favorite. The only colors were a tropical fruit sort of red color, yellow and orange. What more do you need. I got sample box in the mail recently to which several new colors were added (is that blue?) PLUS fiber.

What's next? "Honeycomb. Improved, now with Ginkgo Biloba?"

There are a lot of things that aren't good for us. Letting your kids eat junk food in adult portions all day long is good for no one. But what about a little bowl of sweet, the occasional cookie with the hug and fun with our imaginations and the help of a "beam up badge"? Did it really do us any harm?
So I'm going to start my day  some weekend soon with a big bowl of Quisp cereal.


You remember Quisp?

The voice of Quisp on the commercials was Daws Butler, the voice of Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss and Huckleberry Hound. It tastes like Captain Crunch but doesn't remove the roof of your mouth when you eat it. The slogan I remember as a kid in 1970. . . "it gives you Quazy energy".  It's hard to find but it's still out there.

Look, I try and eat healthy most of the time. But I refuse to grow up, and I'm going to enjoy my sugar laden dreams via a bowl of cereal from the 60's.

And then I'm going to give Abby an extra treat.

For growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

15 comments:

  1. Alphabets, fruit loops - my favs. Only liked the marshmallows in lucky charms. Toys were still in cereal at least in early 80s.

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    1. I always ate just the marshmallows in lucky charms. Mom would then feed me oatmeal three days straight afterwards. In the early 80's I was a copilot for a small airline, mostly we got yogurt, and some strange egg thing as our breakfast. We're not sure it was actually yogurt OR an egg.

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  2. Fond memories here of all those cereals too even if Mom was stingy about buying them too often. Mom's brother usually grabbed all the cereal toys. Mom was content with the Cracker Jacks ones:)

    Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

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    1. We only got them them Mom was not doing well (she battled cancer much of our childhood). I remember WAY too many meals of oatmeal or cream or rice (don't get me started on the chocolate flavored Maypo)

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  3. We have rekindled a lot of old memories. The back of the box was required reading. The toys became more enticing each year. I wish kids today had those memories It is hard to put a video game system into a cereal box.

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    1. I understand. My granddaughters didn't get electronic toys at all their first 10 years.

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  4. Sugar Pops, right out of the box, have always been my favorite. Now get my fix with Cheerios, Type 2 Diabetis ya know. I remember the Divers and the Submarine. Great stuff. Never had any use for the other sugar bombs.

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    1. I still love Sugar Pops. Thanks for stopping in.

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  5. I still have a box of Lucky Charms in the cupboard for my weekend breakfast treat - I still love those.

    And we had toys in our cereal well into the '80s and early '90s. We were personally fans of digging our hands as far into the box as we could for the toy - no one in our house was willing to clean a dish if it was unnecessary.

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  6. OMD! That submarine--remember it well. Also, remember getting a deed to a random one square inch of land in Alaska. In a family of six kids, just getting the toy was a real treat!

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  7. My Mom had to have dinner ready when Dad came home at precisely 3pm. Dad would go to bed early because he most likely had to get up and go to work at 5am. (He worked at the post office. At Christmas time, he went into work at 1am!) Mom, who had numerous relatives die of starvation during WWII, thought we kids would surely die if we didn't eat a "healthy" snack around 7pm to get us through till the next morning. That snack was usually some kind of cereal. Our favorites were Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries, Frosted Flakes, or Froot Loops. To this day, I still crave sweets in the evening!

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    1. Dad liked to eat right when he got home from work so we got a little snack around 7 pm as well, either an apple or a couple of those sugar wafer cookies.

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    2. I relate to the WWII story as well. A long time copilot of of mine who became a good friend had a German mother who almost starved post WWII. His Dad was in the country post war as a US military employee and he had a firearm. He met my friend's Mom. She was 16 and stunningly beautiful. He asked her father for permission to marry her if she would accept him when she was of age. Until then, he quietly provided animals he hunted and whatever food he had he could share. Otherwise they might have had the same fate. They moved to the US, and had a long and happy marriage. I was lucky enough to meet her before she passed, a remarkable lady.

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  8. that was great to go back to "the happy days" ;o) I wonder too when the prizes disappeared ;o) I once found a magic ring in a cereal box, it said it makes you invisible... sadly a fat lie but I love it anyway ;o)... the weird thing was that the bestest prizes were in the boxes with things I totally disliked... ;O)))

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  9. As a child growing up in the 50's & 60's I too remember all those cereal boxes. And so do my kids. 😇 If it hadn't been for beer and Cheerios, I'm not sure I'd have made it through college-and the meal of choice after night classes. LOL

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Welcome to The Book of Barkley and the Blogville dog blogging community. This blog was created for more memories of Barkley as well as updates on Abby the Senior rescue Lab, who we adopted in 2014.

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