If you’re from New Orleans, you know this song, if not check it out on YouTube. It’s a lament of all the places we knew and loved that for whatever reason aren’t there anymore. Stores, restaurants, bakeries, even entire neighborhoods. Cherished memories. And every few years, they add new places to the list. This photo is one of the wading pools that existed in the city parks when kids were allowed to play in them. Nowadays, they’re still there, but no water is in them. No kids splashing. Sad, but I’m sure there’s some sort of legal reason. They’d probably have to pay for lifeguards or something. We just had mom’s looking out for us.
We shake our heads and mourn for those lost by-gone times and places and things.
But maybe they weren’t as wonderful as we remembered?
We’ve all run into that one thing we used to love as a kid, and it just didn’t hold up to inspection now that we’re adults.
Like bologna sandwiches, on white bread with mayo. Sometimes your mom would fry the bologna? The kind you peeled the red casing off of? As a kid, you thought you were in heaven getting one of those, but would you eat it now? Probably not. And when did you lose your taste for Spam? Or potted meat? Or (shudder) Vienna sausages in a can? Or those little sandwiches everyone would make for parties and wedding receptions – the thin slices of ham with mayo on white bread? You’d cut off the crusts and then cut them into triangles? Or the mints you got at weddings? They’d melt in your mouth. I remember snatching extra little bags of them, wrapped in netting and tied with a ribbon at weddings and eat them by handful. And while we’re talking about receptions, what self-respecting wedding or church reception was complete without sherbert punch. It was Hawaian Punch, 7-Up, and a half gallon block of orange sherbert. So sweet your teeth hurt, but we drank it by the cup with our reception ham sandwiches.
Maybe it was a southern thing?
Did your tastes change or does the meat not taste the same or is it just not the “socially acceptable” thing to eat? White bread? Sugar? Bologna? The horrors!!
Or candy? I can remember some great candy that I never see anymore in stores. Remember those molassas cookies called Planks? There were long
and had this sort of wide scalloped edge, with pink frosting on them? Two to a pack. God, they were good. And I loved Bonomo Taffy. It came in vanilla, chocolate, stawberry and banana. It was so hard, you had to smack it on the cement outside to break it into pieces, because your mom wouldn’t let you do it on the edge of the kitchen counters because she was sure it would break the edge of the Formica off. You could pull out teeth with that stuff.
In New Orleans, the taffy we got was from the Roman Taffy Man, and you had to wait until he actually came to your neighborhood with his mule-drawn wagon. Five cents for a footlong stick of vanilla, strawberry or chocolate. Now, the wagon is parked at the Audubon Zoo and the price is like fifty cents a stick or something. But it’s still good. The mule is gone now too.
Are you old enough to remember the man who would come to your neighborhood with the decked out Shetland pony so you could have your picture taken on it dressed up like a cowboy or cowgirl? Both my brother and I had those 8×12 sepia pictures.(this isn’t one of ours) If someone tried to do that nowadays, he’d probably get arrested. Maybe it was a New Orleans thing?
I remember using Delta Cane Syrup on my pancakes. Dark, rich and thick, made from sugar cane. You never worried if it would run off onto the plate. It stayed where you poured it. Now? I have no idea if it’s even sold anymore. My dad used to buy sticks of real sugar cane from one of those side of the road stands and we’d chew on it during drives to Mississippi or around south Louisiana.
Or ever stop for fresh boiled peanuts? These days, the only place I’ve seen that in recent memory was in Alabama, Georgia or Florida while driving to DisneyWorld a few years ago. But they used to be everywhere in the south, on those highways we traveled before there were Interstate Highways. They’re gone now, along with all those small towns you’d drive through to get to wherever you were heading.
And whatever happened to those cookies, the ones with devil food cake inside, a thin layer of marshmellow cream and a hard coating of chocolate? I haven’t seen those in ages. I don’t even remember what they were called. Peeps definitely are as bad as always, but you can still get those, unfortunately. Those I wouldn’t mind seeing disappear. They were always a disappointment to me. They looked so much better than they ever tasted. They used to just come in yellow, but now there in all sorts of colors.
Think of all the things, places, and food that’s gone now, for whatever reason. I miss some of them. Some I wonder how in the world I ever ate it and some I’d still eat if I could find them. It would be a guilty pleasure for sure, but I wonder, if I did find those Planks, would they taste as good as I remember?
What are of the things from your childhood that ain’t dere no more?