I remember these

I just so happened to see it there in the store window next to the Chinese fast-food restaurant where my colleague and I were picking up lunch:

A big, round, tan-and-brown can of Charles Chips.

“Look at that! I haven’t seen those in years!” I shouted, to my colleague’s amusement.

These tins were delivered by truck to our house when I was a kid, if I recall correctly. Like Dy-Dee Diaper service…only not taking something horrifically pungent away (I remember that, too, up until I was about four; I had a sister two years younger).

Instantly I was thrown back to the 1970s, beginning with this scene:

The sewing room that is supposed to be a dining room. Mama’s Singer sewing machine, threads, pins, patterns galore. The ironing board. Daddy’s shoeshine box and bench in the corner. The distinct scent of Kiwi shoe polish in hanging in this space…the Charles Chip can, long missing its lid, heaped to the brim with socks that had lost their mates. Mama calls it the sock box. How are there so many? The washer (that lasted over twenty-five years) ate them, maybe? Mama tries to keep socks matched by sewing a knot of thread in the toe tips, a different color for each pair… me, age seven, on the day of my baptism, walking down the baptistry steps into the surprisingly warm water, looking down at my white-socked feet, seeing the coordinating navy-blue knots…

All this, triggered by mere sight of a Charles Chip can after so many years.

I was there.

The Statler Brothers had a nostalgic song about things they remembered from their youth, entitled “Do You Remember These?”

Here’s what the Charles Chips started dredging up for me…see if any of you remember these, from the late 1960s to early ’70s:

The Archies cartoon (and the song “Sugar Sugar”)
Penelope Pitstop cartoon
Josie and the Pussycats cartoon
Rocky and Bullwinkle
The Flintstones
The Jetsons
H. R. Pufnstuf show
The Banana Splits show
The Munsters
The Addams Family (our family friends had a black lab named Thing)
The Wonderful World of Disney, Sunday nights
Wild Kingdom
Family Affair and Mrs. Beasley dolls
Easy-Bake ovens
The Wizard of Oz on TV once a year
Paper dolls, such as “Mod Maude”
Squirmles, the Magical Pet (a furry worm that “moved”)
Silly Putty for placing & peeling on the Sunday comics – so fun
The Pink Panther Show
The Partridge Family (how is it I can still sing every song?)
Donny and Marie
The Monkees
sea monkeys
pet rocks
mood rings
Tupperware parties
Beeline parties
Avon ladies calling
Choco’Lite candy bars
Count Chocula cereal (back in stores now at Halloween!)
upper elementary girls wearing wigs to school
shag haircuts
The Brady Bunch
Gilligan’s Island
Viewmasters and reels
Spirograph art
Romper Stompers
Hippity Hop (ball with handle, for sitting on and bouncing wherever you wanted to go)
Super Elastic Bubble Plastic
rabbits’ feet (I am so, so sorry now, dear Rabbits)
Looney Tunes
Star Trek

and last but not least
Sonny and Cher

…these are just the first ripples in my memory. There’s a story surrounding each. There are more memories just below the surface, waiting to be stirred… so many, many more.

Funny, crazy, wondrous, strange, sweet slices of life. So long ago.

Seems fitting to end with this song (imagine me singing it with gusto around age five).


with thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the monthlong Slice of Life Writing challenge

17 thoughts on “I remember these

  1. Something small brings back so many memories. Some time ago we saw Goli Soda in an exhibition. It is soda in a bottle and in the constricted neck there is a marble. When the lid is opened the marble helps to keep the fizz down. We all drank it that day remembering old times. Thank you for sharing your memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm. I don’t remember chips in a can, but I can relate to the Kiwi shoe polish. And to many of the items in your story. “Sugar, sugar” played in the arcade section at the State Fair. Thanks for so many great ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh yes, Fran! I remember the chips and the things on the list – what memories! And you have inspired another slice section for me. I was in a Barnes and Noble in Cobb County recently, over by the Atlanta Braves Stadium, where we had driven to see a prescreening of Tom Hanks in A Man Called Ove and have dinner at Bonefish Grill when I came to the register to pay for a One-Year Bible, and I saw a Pet Rock in its original container on the clearance shelf that was there to lure buyers into these deals like one-last-chance rescue puppies that bring guilt and sleepless nights if you don’t take them all home. I didn’t buy the rock, somehow avoided the temptation, but now I wish I had, just to have one again in its carton cage to keep it from getting loose and running amok or hurting someone, this wild thing. It’s amazing what a can of chips or a pet rock can do, isn’t it? I’m so glad you shared this slice today – – those were the DAYS, my friend, we thought they’d never end……..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the earworm, Fran! Many things on your list are part of my memories, too–and a few are not, perhaps because I was overseas for three of my elementary years, without access to American television shows. Wigs in elementary school is new to me–I would love to know more about that! As for the Charles Chips, they are part of my husband’s Cleveland memories, a conversation sparked by a Vermont Country Store catalog that carries the brand. What a fun trip down memory lane!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Fran, you went down the rabbit hole w/ this. I have never heard of those chips you began with Maybe they’re a geographic thing or were too expensive for us poor hillbillies. I have heard of all the listed items, but you left some of my favorites off. Do you remember edible creepy crawlers and popper knockers? What about yard darts. We had so
    e dangerous toys back in the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fran, a enjoyed your walk down memory lane. We were just talking about the Addams Family with the little grands this past weekend. We searched for one of the movies On Demand but we only got the series so we resorted to showing the new cartoon. The girls loved it. Thanks for the fun slice.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Though born in 1979, I do recall some of these! Oddly enough, I was just telling my brother last week about, “The Pink Panther” and how the theme song scared me as a child, and I still don’t like it.
    My immediate family calls me “Sugar” so I’ve always loved that song by The Archies, and I wanted to think it was about me. I was listening to it on my way to work two years ago when I hit my first deer, so unfortunately I always think of the incident now with that song. 😂
    And, yes! I remember “The Wizard of Oz” being a once a year treat! We had sea monkeys, too!
    What a fun slice to read!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, Charles Chips! We were not a financially stable family most of my childhood, and those chips were such a decadent treat being delivered to our house. I suspect my Babcock, who lived with us, may have been footing the bill. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I may be revisiting some of those memories soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I took one look at the Charles Chips tin, and I thought…”Oh. Those were the chips that I could only get at so-and-so’s house because my parents would never have bought them. Those, and the sit-and-spin, the EZ bake oven…

    As I read your list, I stopped and connected with my memories. I’m hoping that as you remembered each of these things, you sat and enjoyed a memory as you began typing. And you’re right – we could spend so much more time exploring the richer, deeper stories of each and every thing. I think you have yourself another blog post (or a whole darn series)!

    Thanks for giving me a smile today. =)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Charlie Chips – we had them when we were at Aunt Nan’s house. She was always one to spoil us. I think my memories go back to the 60s, but a lot of these things were around then too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow what a rabbit hole of memories. I definitely remember Sugar, Sugar, but a few of the things like the chips were obviously not exported. The Monkees, Avon calling (I worked for Avon as a temp secretary once upon a moon), tupperware and jacks all made it to England. So many memories!! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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