Friday, November 16, 2012

Pieces of Childhood Falling Away

While I was driving to work yesterday around 7:00 a.m., I heard a story on the radio about workers at Hostess Bakery plants across the country being on strike. The story said that the company was giving the workers until 5:00 p.m. to call off the strike and go back to work; if that didn't happen, the company would file bankruptcy and close.

On the way home from work, the same radio station said that the deadline had come and gone, but many of the workers were still on strike. The hold-up, apparently, was between two different unions. The workers from one union settled and agreed to go back to work, but the workers from the second union couldn't come to an agreement, so they maintained their strike. The company stated that, while some workers had returned to work, it wasn't enough to continue with business as usual. What was to happen to Hostess? A final decision hadn't been announced, but it definitely looked bleak.

Wow! I was pretty shocked to hear this news. How could it be so? Driving a delivery truck for Hostess was my Uncle Randy's livelihood for years. I never had any clue how much he made, but it was enough to support he and his family of 6 until he retired. Hostess has been around forEVER; surely they would never really file for bankruptcy! How could they? I mean really, who doesn't have fond memories of opening their lunchbox to find a crinkly cellophane package containing a light, golden cake filled with cream filling?! Ahhh - a Twinkie! Maybe the next day you'd be delighted with a foil-covered, chocolate enrobed Ding-Dong. Mmmm. How could Hostess just cease to exist? I know that people are more health conscious now then they were when I was growing up, and hey, I love a good quality whole wheat bread myself. But still, there's something to be said for freshly made egg-salad sandwiched between two soft, squishy pieces of Wonder bread. Delish!

This morning, the final decision was splashed all over the news: curtains for Hostess. They confirmed that they were filing for bankruptcy and closing their business.

I know it sounds silly, but hearing the news broke my heart. Granted, I've not had a Hostess Twinkie in over 30 years but still, knowing that I could have one if I wanted to, well ... it made it seem like all was right with the world. Know what I mean? Now that it won't be there - well, it makes me feel like a piece of my innocence has fallen away. A lovely piece of my childhood is gone. POOF! Just like that, vanished into thin air.

Call me sentimental, but when things that have brought me wonderful memories of pure joy disappear, it makes my heart ache. It makes me long for a time that was sweeter and more gentle. makes me miss my mom and dad.

As if losing the iconic Hostess Bakery weren't enough, I read another article today that indicated Sears was all but bankrupt and the rumor is they will be liquidating soon as well. Great. Another beacon of my childhood years on it's way out. When I was a child, Sears is 'where America shopped'. And we were the all-Americans who shopped there. I can't tell you how many school dresses (um, no pants as, by mandate of dad, they were not allowed for years to come!), and winter coats and summer play clothes were purchased at Sears Pasadena. And how many of you remember walking into Sears and being hit with the powerful aroma of fresh popcorn? In our store, that section was on the upper level. If we were very lucky, we'd head up there at the end of a shopping trip and mom and dad would treat us to something yummy. I wanted popcorn, Deb wanted non-periels (you don't need anymore clothes!), and dad would get a quarter pound of cashews. At that time, mom wasn't much of a sweets-eater, but now and then she'd indulge in chocolate covered peanut clusters. I swear, sitting here thinking about it, I can almost smell that popcorn right now.

The moral of the story? If there is one, I suppose it would be to enjoy what you have in your life while you have it. Having treasured memories - of people or things that meant a lot to you - will make it less painful when they're gone. least that's what I'm hoping.

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