Posted by Jenn Thorson at 7:00 AM Labels: lucky charms, sugar cereals, things your mom wouldn't let you eat, unhealth food
We always want what we cannot have... the age-old tale. And growing up, my mother's quest toward health and familial happiness involved a distinct separation of me from all that tantalized and teased the tastebuds.
Yes, for 360 days a year, it parted me from my one ultimate and blindingly-beautiful true love....
Lucky Charms cereal.
Lucky Charms... it was the Arnold Schwartzenegger of Cheerios. A crispy oaty shape, yes.... But on steroids-- pumped up with a mouth-wateringly sweet coating and paired with a rainbow of marshmallow magic that captivated the eyes as well as the salivary glands...
It was kiddie crack.
I suppose if I had never known its power, its magnetic lure... If it had never passed my lips in quiet, stolen moments, then I never would have felt the bittersweet longing for it in its absence.
But once a year on vacation to Cape May, I was allowed to partake of the joy that was artificial flavors and colors. I could pop open that box and inhale the sweet dextrose, honeyed methylcellulose and heart-jolting corn syrup... Feast my eyes on the playful Yellow #5, warm Red #40 and soothing Blue #1.
Nirvana in a bowl! How I did adore thee!
But then, time too soon slipped through the fingers, like quarters into that claw game nobody actually wins.
And as our Dodge Family Wagon would wend its way from campground trails and skee-ball paradise, back to the bustle and traffic of north Jersey strip-mall-land... I would see the pink hearts and blue diamonds, green clovers, yellow stars and purple horseshoes melt before my tear-stained eyes for yet another year. As if they never were.
Back to the dim, gray world of Wheaties and Grape Nuts... A return to the colder place of Kix, that tasteless impostor of kid cereals, made predominantly of styrofoam and recycled cardboard boxes.
It was like being ripped back from heavenly bliss to join the cruel Earthly plane once more.
Yes, Lucky and I were too-soon parted, with only wistful memories between us. This marshmallow heart I hold today is for you, my playful Irish imp. I will keep it close to my own heart and cherish it as long as the beauty of true passion survives.
Or at least until my shirt pocket gets sticky.
So-- let's hear it, gang: what item did you love growing up that you weren't allowed to have?
(This post was inspired by JD of I Do Things So You Don't Have To's recent discussion of Quisp. Thanks for the memories, JD!)