Ain’t Dere No More by Lynn Lorenz

Even as a young child, Lynn couldn't keep her hands off the boys...

Even as a young child, Lynn couldn’t keep her hands off the boys…

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?

25 thoughts on “Ain’t Dere No More by Lynn Lorenz

  1. Wow, Lynn, the Vienna sausages in a can brought back memories. Those with creamed corn from a can were my favorite comfort foods as a kid. I shudder at the notion of either of them now. Corn now holds the status of the most genetically modified crop in North America. Can’t remember the last time I ate corn. Sheesh. Thought-provoking post.


    • Those were my mom’s favorite. I hated them back then, but I’d bet she’d still like them. Maybe. And not eat tortilla chips??? How would you get the salsa and queso to your mouth??
      Thanks Jianne!


  2. I have always lamented the passing of Marathon Bars. Ooey, gooey, roped caramel covered in chocolate. Yum!
    I retried Spam years ago when my oldest was a babe. Fried to a golden, um pinkish color, and served with mac and cheese. Didn’t read the ingredients before I gave it to him – still don’t want to. Shutter. Good thing he has better taste than I did, spit it out on the first taste! Did eat the mac and cheese though. Still can’t beat Kraft’s reprocessed cheesy goodness.
    Thanks for bringing back the memories, Lynn!


  3. Fabulous post, Lynn!! Love it. And I don’t think it’s a southern thing. I ate a LOT of bologna. LOL Actually, for 4 years, I worked at a large Canadian processed meats company and saw my share of bolo, Vienna sausages and spam. Ugh. But as a kid- loved them.


  4. I think you’re describing Moon Pies and they’re still available (although I haven’t eaten one since I was a kid). I also think your mother fed you some strange stuff. But then, I grew up mostly in Texas and my mother was from Arkansas. Not exactly the DEEP South. Things you forgot – candy cigarettes. Nobody was as cool as us when we “smoked” our candy cigarettes!

    What will our children write in twenty or thirty years? I shudder to think about it.


  5. Little cans of Vienna Sausage were standard lunch fare when I was an archeology student, probably because bologna sandwiches invariably got wet in the cooler. I don’t think I’ve eaten one in thirty-five years or so. Same with boiled peanuts, which I remembered from my days in grad school at Tulane. (Is McKenzie’s Bakery still around? I think that was the name. There was one around the corner from my student hovel, and they made the best donuts ever.)
    As for childhood candy, we used to love little lumps of colored sugar candy, three or four in a row on long strips of paper (I think we called them Buttons) and wax bottles with some sort of horribly sweet liquid inside. And wax lips and teeth (mostly around Halloween).


    • Hi Kay! McKenzie’s isn’t there anymore. It’s been gone since before Katrina. I still can taste the cinnamon rolls and sticks! Yeah, i remember those little soda bottles and the wax lips! they were awful! Didn’t know you were at Tulane. My mom was the secretary for the Anthropology department for years. Did you ever study with the Professors Edmundson? My best friend in high school was their daughter. Small world!


      • I remember the Morning Call near the docks for excellent coffee and beignets. The place had been there for well over one-hundred years. The property owner raised the rent and it went out of business around 1970. I was crushed when I visited and it was gone.


      • But it’s back open again, just not there. They reopened it this year in City Park, at the Casino building by the place to rent paddle boats. The playground is there. It’s the perfect spot, because the building is like a hundred years old and looks perfect. Great beignets and now serves delicious soft serve ice cream. It’s a much prettier spot.
        But my dad would drive us down to the Quarter and park at the curb at the Morning Call to eat beignets and chocolate milk.


      • I took a folklore course from Munro(?) Edmundson. Maybe more–that was a long time ago. I was there from 1969 to 1971. Then we moved out to New Iberia, where Jack was working at the Shadows on the Teche for the National Trust. Then we worked for Gulf South Research Institute for a while. Stayed in New Iberia for about five years before we moved here.


      • Yes, that’s him and the same time. how cool. From knowing him and his wife, I developed a love of anthropology, and did some courses in college, but I had to settle on one of my many majors, and chose Fine Art over that and English. LOL!


  6. Great post, Lynn. Have to say I loved fried bologna on Sunbeam Bread (made in Ft. Wayne IN as was the bologna made at the Ekrich meat factory ) with plain old mustard. Saved the mayo for tuna and hamburgers. My dad loved those little Vienna sausages in a can. We ate a lot of Deviled Ham on bread too.

    My dad worked a second job, pumping gas while getting his seniority at International Harvester. He’d bring home Clark bars and Bun candy (round chocolate candy with nuts and fillings some marshmallow and some caramel – I liked the peanut with caramel the best) and Cokes in 6 ounce bottles as a treat for us. I also had every “doll of the world” that was given away with a fill-up. Since my daddy worked there he got to pick us girls up the dolls each week.


  7. Monette, I never heard of Bun candy!! Maybe that was regional. And yes, we had Bunny bread that was baked locally. You could smell it in the mornings. It was next to the Eight O’Clock coffee placed that roasted the coffee. And I loved those little bottles of Coke. They tasted the best!


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