In studying the old photo in yesterday’s post of my sister and me as little kids at the Manse – another, similar one is at right; note bowl haircuts – I think I recognized something that made me nostalgic. Draped over the back of the chair that Melanie is sitting in is what looks like a towel. And I think it may have been a towel that came out of a box of laundry detergent.
Only those of you of a certain age will have a clue what I’m talking about.
But yes, back in the 1960s some products were marketed not necessarily for their innate virtues, but because they came with a free thing inside, and what I remember most are the towels in the laundry detergent. It seems to me the detergent in question was Duz (what a great name!), but my extensive (okay, not so much) online research has turned up only drinking glasses in Duz. (You can see a goofy ad for the glasses-in-the-Duz here – and recall the days when TV ads were a full 60 seconds long. It goes on forever!) Does anyone have any light to shed on this extremely important matter? What detergent did those towels come out of?
Anyway, whatever kind of detergent it was, we had a lot of those towels. When your family is that of an ill-paid country minister and there are six mouths to feed, free stuff is pretty attractive. And you know, I rather think some of those towels might still be in my family’s possession, being used up at the family farm in Haliburton County.
What else came free in boxes and bags of unrelated material – does anyone remember? Over the years I’ve collected bits and bobs of Anchor Hocking Bubble ware at collectibles stores and yard sales, because I am a hopeless nostalgic (as you will have long ago guessed) and they remind me of my grandmother Sedgwick, who had several of those pieces. My bubble plates are at the Manse, and when my mum saw them at Christmas (we served the Christmas pudding on them) she had a flashback to them arriving in those giant bags of puffed wheat that everybody (right?) used to buy. Again, I have not been able to find any confirmation of this, but it would explain why my grandmother’s collection was a bit of an odd assortment – and why those Bubble pieces are so incredibly common.
Because how could you have a houseful of kids (as almost everyone did in those Baby-Boom days) and not buy giant bags of puffed wheat? (The subject of a joke or two by my cousin Nancy’s husband, comedian Denis Grignon, who grew up in another of those big Baby-Boom families.) And so what if puffed wheat was the most nutrition-free food in the history of the world? It was very cheap, and it filled the kids’ breakfast bowls.
And if a useful towel or a dinner plate or a dessert bowl was to be found inside, well – bonus!