If I’d Have Only Gotten A Lousy Decoder Ring.

My closest friend Karen has a Pinterest. If you haven’t experienced Pinterest, it is a way to browse the internet, or other Pinterest followers, find an image or video that appeals to you, and save it to boards that you create. She is an avid Pinner. I did it for a while, but I mostly used it for recipes and music, and have fallen away. My Pinterest passion has waned.

Karen, however, is still going strong as a believer. Fashion, food, music, and pictures of cats dressed like humans are just a few her many Pins. Out of the thousands of Pins she has put out there, my hands down favorite pins are ones she calls Buying Back My Childhood.

I’m not sure what I would buy back from my childhood.  I had the usual amount of Barbie’s for a girl from the 60’s. I sailed around Harris in a very cool purple Schwinn that my father bought me for my 10th birthday. I saved my money for a portable record player, and ended up using it until I left for college. I probably would have used it beyond, but the tone arm needed to be weighted down so it wouldn’t skip. I started off with a nickel, but when a half-dollar no longer worked I realized it had to go. Unfortunately, so did many of the albums I played on it.

Buying back my childhood?

Over time I have found out that it’s easier to think of what I might not buy back.  Here’s the point where I could become so esoteric or maudlin that you would feel the acid build in the back of your throat. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go on and on about Vietnam, or the Kennedy brothers, or even MLK. No, this tirade is about Cracker Jack.

Like many of you, I grew up with the innocent expectation that TV, and the ads in the back of my Josie and the Pussycat comics, had my best interest at heart. That those sea monkeys would make really great pets after I added water, and that the x-ray glasses were going to allow me visions of things I had a fear of seeing.  Oh but Cracker Jack, that candy-coated-popcorn- peanuts- and a prize delight in a box. Sadly it is one of the greatest let downs of my youth.

And I am NOT exaggerating. REALLY.

And yet, I kept plopping down my pennies, earned by sweeping floors and doing dishes, for the treat that is thought to be the earliest junk food.  Oh I ate the stale corn and burnt peanuts to find the gold; the promise that each commercial brought. The prize.

Oh that elusive prize.

Not once did I ever get a cute little gold charm, key chain, or toy. I remember a whirly gig thing that you would throw in the air, but it just fell to the ground. I usually got books, or tattoos that didn’t stick, and twice nothing.  Two separate  red and white 1″ envelopes with promises of treasures, and they were both empty.

Cereal, now that was different. I usually scored big there, but they were few and far between.

And don’t get me started on Bazooka Joe. The jaw aches I endured just to read the same cartoon over and over again.  Sad.

I was a loser a the game of Cracker Jack, but don’t feel bad for me. I grew up just fine. I was loved by my parents. I’ve had some great friends and good times.  I’ve had a good life.

Buying back my childhood?

Well, maybe Snap, Crackle and Pop. Now there were some stellar dudes.

8 Comments on “If I’d Have Only Gotten A Lousy Decoder Ring.

  1. I got a decent collection of little baseball players and bare-knuckled boxers from Cracker Jack. I guess St. Cloud had most-favored-city status or something.

  2. Well, I happen to love Cracker Jack for the little peanuts…a delightful surprise in a sea of Carmel corn. I would eat an entire box of Cracker Jacks for the peanuts. No, Laura, I could not just eat the peanuts as that misses the point. It is the peanuts IN the Carmel corn that is the point. And the prizes? Just a bonus…and who can scoff at a bonus….???

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