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You Scream, I Scream . . .

Remember the first day of school, when the teachers assigned a theme on what you did last summer? I liked writing even then, but I hated the assignment because I thought a trip to visit Aunt Mary or our farmer relatives in Ohio boring. After all, I couldn’t write about seeing the pyramids by camel, or riding up the Eiffel Tower.

I have no idea what I wrote. Maybe I rhapsodized about a Sunday afternoon drive with my mom when we stopped to buy sweet corn—a dollar a dozen--from a farmer’s stand. Or maybe I wrote about sailing down St. Clair Hill on my bike to cool off. To repair my damaged psyche, I’ve invented a variation: “What I ate on my Summer Vacation.” NOW we’re talkin’! Let’s start with the cool treats that made summer special.


I often chose chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream on a stick, called a “Smoozie.” I liked the contrast between the chocolate and vanilla flavors, and bought it either at the little market a block from my house or from the ice cream truck. Cost:  a dime. I was less fond of Fudgsicles, but I bought them sometimes because they were like chocolate milk on a stick.

A sharable treat, and more affordable at a nickel, were popsicles in various flavors. First choice:  orange, followed by lime, cherry and grape in that order, but absolutely never root beer. I had the break-apart ritual down pat. I’d place the ridge on the edge of a counter and thwack, ending with two exactly equal pieces.

Young girl eating ice cream cone

I sometimes bought Drumsticks, but they were more expensive and dropped nuts off the top, so I bought those only when I was flush and didn’t care about being messy.  Call me crazy, but they also made me thirsty. According to the back of this picture, I was eating said Drumstick in my backyard, probably bought by the more affluent buyer, my mom, one lazy Sunday afternoon.

My ALL TIME favorite, however, was the Dreamsicle—a combination of orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream. Heaven on a stick, it was less popular with other kids, so it was always in stock. Besides that wonderful not-too-sweet flavor, the marbled colors looked pretty too. 

Now I buy these treats in bulk and keep them in the freezer for my grandkids. But somehow the magic is gone. Those delicacies so long ago were a true TREAT, not an everyday thing. It seems I had something special to write for that Old School essay after all.     


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