Week #13 –Sweets: What was your favorite childhood candy or dessert? Have your tastes changed since then? What satisfies your sweet tooth today?
Mom once told me my first word was “Sugar.” While I think she was joking, I know I ate a lot of sweets growing up. One of my favorite things to do was the ride my bicycle up to Damore’s and spend my allowance on candy, usually a dollar or two per week. Damore’s Grocery in Bridgeport was located on the corner Dixie Highway and S. Ohio Avenue. It was about a quarter mile from our house. I used to buy Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip, Mambo, SKOR bars, Three Muskateers and candy cigarettes. Any pennies left over would be used to purchase Tootsie Rolls. My pockets would be overflowing with various candies as I rode my bike home and proceeded to eat it all within the hour.
When my best friend Jennifer and I got a little older, we started to venture a little further away from home on our bicycles. I lived on California Avenue on a dead end, east of Olive Street. Jennifer lived on Nebraska Avenue near the corner of Peach Street. All of our streets in the neighborhood in Bridgeport’s Genessee Gardens were named after states (Oregon, California, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana and Kansas) or fruits (Olive, Orange, Apple, Peach and Pear). We started to venture south on Olive Street, all the way down to King Road. There was a large open field with a ditch we used to cross over with our bikes to reach the Rite Aid on Williamson and King Roads.
Hubba Bubba Soda
Rite Aid sold pink gold. It was in the form of Hubba Bubba bubble gum pop. (In Michigan, it was known as Pop. When I moved to Arizona I had to change my vocabulary to fit in with the locals, and I now refer to it as Soda.) Hubba Bubba was pure liquid sugar and I drank it like it was water, as if my life depended on it. I loved this pop. Forget the candy – in 5th grade, it was all about the pop. I also drank a massive amount of Pepsi but I hated Coke. My sister Kathleen was the opposite, however; she loved Coke because the popular drink was Pepsi. She just wanted to be different. My babysitter was my cousin Ruth Karpuk and she drank Diet Coke, so I learned to drink that after a while too. It was always kept in the refrigerator for her so if we had no other pop in the house, I would settle for Diet Coke.
Once I got into high school, my tastes changed away from candy and more into crunchy snacks. My favorites were Double Stuf Oreos and regular Nacho Doritos. I continued to drink Pepsi throughout high school. I prefer my pops (aka sodas) in aluminum cans. I never liked fountain drinks or ones that came from a 2-liter. Cans are my preference. For some reason I really like the flavor of the aluminum can which is probably really, really bad for my body. I realized in my early 30′s that anything but water is pretty bad for my body, so I don’t really drink soda any more. It took me years to change, but I now prefer plain old water.
Nowadays I prefer salty snacks to sweet ones. While I do enjoy the occasional Dove milk chocolate bar and snacking on Indoor S’Mores, my favorite snack is Archer Farms brand Parmesan Garlic Homestyle Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips. Archer Farms is a store brand sold at Target stores. I refer to them as my “CHEEEEEPS!” I eat these chips almost daily, and I have for the past couple of years. I fear the day they stop manufacturing them. If I get wind of their retirement, I’ll be stocking up on a warehouse full of these chips and plan to savor them for many years to come.
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