Just like so many of you, I include candy as a major memory trigger for me, whether the memory involves the candy itself or is generally representative of a point in time. But it isn’t candy alone that occupies the sweet spectrum of my mind – there’s enough gum in there as well to make my 4th grade teacher give me detention!
It never fails to surprise me how quickly and vividly recollections of the past swim over me when I really think about a specific candy or gum. Sure, I see them all the time, but so often we are rather oblivious to our surroundings. In the name of being more present and conscious, I will share the memories that come to mind when I think about 2 favorite nostalgic gums. I hope my memories spark some of your own, and that you’ll share with us all in the comments!
Fruit Stripe Gum – I enjoyed a pack of Fruit Stripe gum recently, and am happy to report that it tastes the same as it did years ago. It has the same powdery finish, the familiar colored stripes, and while I’m not positive it had “Yipes In Action” tattoos on the wrappers in the past, it certainly does now! And of course there is the adorable Fruit Stripe Zebra, playing soccer as zebras so often do! But what has changed is the packaging itself. When I was a youngster Fruit Stripe gum came in a tin, much like past containers of Band-Aids. And while the gum was a tasty treat, deciding what to do with the tin upon the gum’s completion was a fiesta of fun! It often held change, though it was no stranger to ChapStick and Bonne Bell Lip Smackers. And I can’t forget the notes passed in class! Oh yes, saved notes were perfect for the Fruit Stripe gum tins, and the bonus was that spending enough time in the tin made them smell ever-so-faintly fruity.
Freedent Gum – Freedent gum reminds me of my Gram. She had false teeth, and Freedent was her gum of choice as it didn’t stick to her teeth, and it had a fresh, minty flavor. My Gram only ever chewed a half stick of gum at a time, and kept her gum in the cabinet above the microwave, near the drinking glasses. Her glasses were stored on a Lazy Susan, and I would always spin them slowly for several minutes before choosing which I’d use that day. She had been to visit a lot of places over the years, and I think she bought a glass everywhere she went. Finding the perfect one took some time! Once I’d picked my glass, I would fill it with ice cubes and Ginger Ale – Gram always had Ginger Ale – and then I’d nonchalantly ask if I could have a piece of Freedent (as if I didn’t ask every time!). Gram was always generous with whatever she had, and her favorite gum was no exception. But while we both enjoyed Freedent, unlike her I liked to chew a lot of gum at once, so I would chew the half-piece that was almost always there along with a full piece for the perfect amount!