Colorado - 1945
Can you remember your first experience with bubblegum? I do, and I remember where I was. We were at a picnic in Estes Park on this St. Varain River. Dad, Mom, Sonny, Ginger and me, along with grandparents, Grandpa and Grandma Cogswell and my uncles, Les and Marvin, Aunt Ruth and Uncle Norman were also in the travel caravan. Each family traveled in their own car.
The town of Estes Park was small and we had lots of fun running up and down the river bank and streets, especially running by the salt water taffy shop. The plan was always the same. Find a picnic spot along the riverbank. Layout all the blankets and baskets of food, pour lemonade for Dad, Grandpa and Norman. They were always tired and thirsty as they drove the whole way through the mountains, from the farms and orchard.
We got to run down to the river and look for trout and take our shoes off and soak our feet in the ice cold water. Usually Dad joined us in this ritual. He loved to remove his shoes and stick his feet in the water and let out a bellow that bounced off the mountain tops. "BRRRRRRRRRR thththtats cccold!" he would shout, shaking his head from side to side.
By that time Mom, Aunt Ruth and Grandma would have all the goodies laid out on the picnic blanket and have plates filled for us to dig in. Our "apple-tights" were great in the clear mountain air. After dining on fried chicken, potato salad, homemade bread and butter, baked beans and don't forget Mom's dill pickles, deviled eggs ( Grandma made the very best), Jell-O salad with bananas or pineapple in it and cherry and apple pie and chocolate cake, we could go back to the river to play.
That is where Uncle Marvin gave me my first piece of bubblegum! We had to hide behind the willows because chewing gum was not allowed in our family! I still remember the wonderful taste! I had never experienced that taste! It was so good! Then he proceeded to show me how to blow bubbles. After blowing the gum completely out of my mouth several times, I finally got the hang of the art of blowing bubblegum bubbles. I was so proud of my 7-year-old self. The fact it was a secret and hiding under the willow trees, down by the river, because Mom never allowed us to have gum, was even more exciting. Her excuse when we would ask for gum was, "What would Grandpa think?" I often think about this. I think he would've enjoyed bubblegum too. I still hear the river noise in my ears and the taste about wonderful Double Bubble. Thanks Uncle Marvin for the nice memory.
When Dad, Grandpa and Uncle Norman got through with their afternoon naps on the blankets in the hot sun, we all got to go for a walk to the taffy shop. That is my second recollection of something tasting so good and sweet. Dad would buy the combination box for us kids and he would buy the peppermint box for himself. But of course he would "share." His idea of sharing was "I'll give you one piece of my taffy for two pieces of yours." This was all done with a goodhearted grin and for some reason he ended up with more candy than we did. By the time we got home it did not matter, as Mom was always the counterbalance. "No more candy and till tomorrow. I don't want you throwing up in the car!" So in the car going home, we waited for the "you" (whoever) all the way home to get sick. Whheeee! We made it! No one got sick.
Next week: return trip to Estes Park, 1995.