One of my biggest summer memories from my childhood is spending all day, everyday at the municipal swimming pool in the little Midwestern college town where I grew up. In the summers the town's population would decrease by half when all the students departed and the atmosphere was completely different from the usual hectic, harried pace.
I was a water baby and loved to swim and dive but I have to admit that another big selling point of the pool to me was the handfuls of loose change my mother would give me to use as I wished at the snack bar. These were some of my favorites:
Giant Pixy Stix
I loved these best of all. A huge tube of sugar artificially enhanced with pretty pastel coloring and unrealistic fruity flavoring.
During the late 1930s, the powdery candy was actually intended to be a pre-sweetened drink mix similar to Kool Aid. The developer noticed that many children preferred to pour the powder directly into their mouths, by-passing the mixing process altogether. The candy powder was later repackaged and marketed as a regular candy treat.
"Children preferred to pour the powder directly into their mouths." No kidding. Who doesn't?
These are really just one of the most delicious things ever. I also used to buy them sometimes on Fridays after lunch in the school cafeteria, the one day a week they sold stuff like that. To this day, whenever I see anything with that color scheme—a cat, a dog, a hipster-retro bicycle—I get a hankering for one.
According to Popsicle's own website, frozen dessert on a stick started little more than a century ago.
In 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson left a mixture of powdered soda, water, and a stirring stick in a cup on his porch. It was a cold night, and Epperson awoke the next morning to find a frozen pop. He called it the "Epsicle."
It was a hit with his friends at school, and later with his own kids. They constantly called for "Pop's 'sicle." So in 1923, Epperson changed the name and applied for a patent. A couple of years later, Epperson sold the rights to the brand name Popsicle® to the Joe Lowe Company in New York. The rest is history!
Creamsicles, of course, differ from run-of-the-mill Popsicles because the outside is more of a sherbet and the inside is a delicious creamy filling. Lots of foods wish they were Creamsicles. And be sure to celebrate National Creamsicle Day when August rolls around. In fact, make yourself a Creamsicle Martini.
Unlike the first two, these were pretty new and revolutionary when I was a kid. They heated up and bounced off your tongue and just at the point where you were sure they were going to be painful, there was an incredibly yummy explosion of flavor.
Not long after they hit the market, urban myths abounded about kids' stomaches exploding from combining Pop Rocks and Coca Cola. The most famous victim of this phenomenon was purported to be the actor who played Mikey in the Life cereal commercials. At camp I heard one kid actually lived, but both his parents were surgeons so they were able to administer emergency care until he got the the hospital.
What about you? Do you have any nostalgia for candies that remind you of the summertimes of your youth?