June 1, Wednesday, was #2 son’s birthday. He is now 34. I could write a novel about him and how he changed my life. That’s not a big deal. That is what children do, change lives.
Yesterday, my sister gave him a birthday luncheon, where we ate white bean chicken chili and had angel food cake with strawberries for the birthday cake.
K, my sister, and I easily slip into nostalgia about our childhood these days. In the Fifties and Sixties, up to the Kennedy assassination, childhood was an age of innocence. We had space to play and to discover the larger world. Mother would let my brother and me go downtown on the bus to the movies and send us to the store on our bikes to buy groceries. In general, we learned autonomy, without danger from criminals or perverts. The dope nightmare was just beginning in 1958.
Yesterday we talked about television and the commercials . What we didn’t know then was that TV was really about the commercials. The programming was chosen by the advertisers to fill the space between the commercials. Cigarettes, automobiles and breakfast cereal were the commercials we especially recalled.
Almost every adult smoked, except my mother, my Aunt Jean and my Aunt Opal. Aunt Opal had asthma. She was more interested in breathing than smoking. Mom and Aunt Jean didn’t smoke because nice girls didn’t smoke. And they were grown-up nice girls.
Automobile advertising touted a car’s looks, power, and the status the car would convey. They also suggested that women who drove could achieve a certain independence. This is a big deal. There was, or could be, a life for women outside of waxing floors and fixing dinner.
But breakfast cereals advertised on Saturday morning “kiddie” shows were a big hook baited for just us “kiddies”. Sky King was sponsored by Nabisco Wheat Honeys and Rice Honeys. Cheerios sponsored damn near everything. Outside of the Saturday morning time slot, The Beverly Hillbillies had Winston cigarettes and Kellogg’s cereals for its sponsors. We laughed at Jed, Granny, et.al. Then we watched the commercials for Winstons and Special K. Seamless. I even remember Granny sticking a Winston in her corn cob pipe, then puffing on it.
Which brings us to leprechauns and our title. Sometime after the 50’s-60’s time line, General Mills came up with Lucky Charms, complete with leprechauns, rainbows, and petrified marshmallows in the shape of stars, hearts and four-leaf clovers. Lucky Charms were “magically delicious”.They had a notch in #2 son’s World. He ate them and as a single Dad who needed to get him out the door and to school so I could go to work, this was important.
When I saw a Lucky Charms leprechaun Tee-shirt on Amazon, I knew that shirt was a perfect birthday present for my boy. He opened the package with the shirt, took it out of its plastic bag and immediately put it on.
I guess he liked it.