September 29, 2021
One of the myths I believed for most of my adult life was that as a child our family never had much access to candy or sweets. I never recall this being the case when I was growing up but as I aged, I seemed to splice several different stories together to create this reality. Two events happened at Christmas that might have been the foundation for this myth. The first concerned my grandfather. I have memories of him arriving around Christmas with his pockets filled with sacks of ribbon candy and cut rock hard candy. The other was the Christmas movie our town showed at the abandoned theater to mark Santa’s arrival. All the children who attended got a sack of peanuts in the shell, several bonbons, an orange, and hard candy. Somehow this morphed into a lack of sweets.
I realize this could not have been true when I remember my younger brother and my favorite game, concoction. This was a game we could only play when mom was out of the house. Mom often iced cupcakes (sweets?) and kept a supply of the small cake holders available. These became the container where we placed the concoction. The purpose was to challenge each other to eat whatever concoction was created. I recall the base of most of these delicacies was brown sugar. Then we would comb the cupboards adding different ingredients (chocolate chips, coconut, syrup) to the concoction. The trick was to make a treat that was disgusting enough to force the other to refuse to eat it. However, if one brother refused, the one who made the concoction would have to eat it to win. The game usually ended when we could no longer ingest the generous amount of brown sugar involved (sweets?).
I also recall that while we may not have eaten a lot of “store bought” sweets, home-made sweets were plentiful. Every Sunday night was reserved for popcorn, fudge, and divinity. My mom still relishes popcorn and fudge as her Sunday night meal. I recall several times where we had marathon taffy pulls, taking up most of the day on Saturday. Apparently, once you started pulling you could not stop, even when your arms were tired. I do not ever remember getting it to the soft stage I now buy in the stores. Then there were the candy apples and popcorn balls we were given by houses for trick or treat at Halloween, and they usually appeared at our house sometime during the fall as well. While I am not big on sweets now, perhaps it is because I had too many as a child.
Thoughts: One of my childhood memories is the questions my mom would ask. I previously touched on her questions about the missing cookie dough (and cookies) from the freezer. The other was a periodic, “Where is the brown sugar? I was sure we still had brown sugar.” My brother and I always feigned innocence. Despite the copious amounts of sugar ingested as a child, I still held to the myth that we did not have sweets. As an historian I have been intrigued by how our bias results in a fabricated reality concerning events of the past. This is true for my memories of sweets when I was a child. This is also true for the stories being circulated about the vaccine. What we do know is vaccinated people rarely go to the hospital, let alone die. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.