Did you know that I am the universe’s oracle of Freshie?

Freshie drink mix package

A reminder (to all those Canadian readers of a certain age) of the drink of our childhood. Just add water and stir!

In June 2012 I did a post about Freshie, the powdered drink mix from my childhood that was pretty much the Canadian equivalent of Kool-Aid.

In searching for information on Freshie for that post I discovered that – well, basically that there wasn’t really any information out there. Wikipedia has the sum total of this to say: “Freshie was a Canadian drink mix that was a popular alternative to Kool-Aid in the domestic marketplace from the 1950s to the early 1980s.” (Well, it then lists the flavours it came in, but that’s it. And besides, I frankly don’t believe that Freshie ever came in root-beer flavour.)

Anyway, not letting that lack of information stop me, I blithely went on and did my post, which included some mention of homemade popsicles made with Freshie (or Kool-Aid), a bit of a comparison between the two delicious (and so nutritious) beverages, and some commentary on how hideous the stylized bird featured on the front of the Freshie package was:

blog post on Freshie drink mix

And that was that. Or so I thought. But let me tell you: Freshie is probably the single most-read topic I have ever written about in the more than a year and a half that this blog has been extant. Very rarely does a day go by when someone somewhere in the universe doesn’t find his or her way to Meanwhile, at the Manse by Googling “Freshie” or “Freshie drink mix.” (WordPress‘s statistics tell me these things.)

So I am very happy that I randomly hit on Freshie as a topic!

The back porch, or summer kitchen, of the Manse

This is the currently very messy back porch – or, as Raymond calls it, summer kitchen, which undoubtedly is what it once was – at the Manse. We hope to someday open up the walls a bit, screen it in, and turn it into a beautiful porch. And vintage things – like old metal Freshie signs, for instance – would look terrific on the walls!

So happy, in fact, that I was all set to commemorate my brilliant and popular choice of topic by buying a cool bit of Freshie memorabilia. It was a vintage metal sign that must have been used in grocery stores once upon a time, and it just said “Freshie.” And I found it last summer at the Stratford Antique Warehouse, a place Raymond and I like to visit every time we’re in Stratford, Ont., to take in some Shakespeare at the famous theatre festival there. And I almost bought it for the Manse in Queensborough, thinking it would be a good addition to the walls in the back porch there – but held off because of the price, which was somewhere north of $40, a little much for a whimsy, I thought at the time.

You totally know where this is going, don’t you? Yes, just like that vintage Stock Ticker game that I stupidly failed to nab when I spotted it at another antiques place, I let it go, and have regretted doing so every single day since. Especially because every single day since, my WordPress stats show more and more evidence of people’s lingering interest in Freshie, thanks to their online searches that bring them right here.

As it happens, I was back in Stratford one recent weekend to see Measure for Measure with my mum. As soon as we’d unloaded ourselves at the motel, I zoomed over to the antique warehouse, hoping against hope that the Freshie sign that I had stupidly let slip through my grasp might still be there for me to retrieve a year later. It would have soothed my non-buyer’s remorse forever!

Dairy Queen sign at Stratford Antique Warehouse, from defactoredhead.com

I couldn’t resist throwing this in: this great vintage sign is for sale at the Stratford Antique Warehouse (which you can see in the background), and every time I see it there I wish I could afford to buy it – and had a place to put it. (Photo from the blog De Facto Redhead [defactoredhead.com] – where here you can find a post that includes not only this great photo but also some tales of the blogger’s own non-buyer’s remorse!)

I went straight to the booth where I was pretty sure it had been. No dice. I searched all the other booths in that general area of the warehouse. Nothing. Then, of course (you knew I would) I searched every single booth of that entire huge place. I don’t know what I was thinking; maybe one of the dealers had bought it from the first seller and was reselling it? Craziness, I know. Desperation, actually. And then as a final last-gasp move I asked a staffer if she remembered the Freshie sign. And she didn’t, but said she’d ask the others. And they didn’t either. Which indicates to me that someone (someone smarter than I) bought it quite a while ago, probably right after I was boneheaded enough not to a year ago.

So yeah, non-buyer’s remorse strikes again.

But all that aside: don’t you just feel better knowing that when you come here to Meanwhile, at the Manse, you are coming to perhaps the single best (and most popular) source of information in the entire universe on the subject of Freshie?

I know I do.

9 thoughts on “Did you know that I am the universe’s oracle of Freshie?

  1. Hmmm…I think I was into Kool-Aid rather than Freshie.

    Anyways, based upon your first photo, does that mean grape was your favourite flavour of Freshie?

    • Grape was the only Freshie flavour that I could find an online photo of, Graham. I still wonder if someone somewhere has some unused Freshie packets that a person could photograph. If so, I bet that ancient chemically powder would, dissolved in water, taste exactly the same now as it did then. And wouldn’t that be something?

      • With Grape Crush, you characterized the flavour as a “vile concoction”. Just wondering if the taste aversion was Crush-specific or grape-specific.

      • Well, I will confess I was a sucker for grape Crush, grape floats, grape popsicles and, yes, grape Freshie in my very early youth. But by my early teens I had come to my senses and was opting for Coke, chocolate (to die for) or orange popsicles, floats – I forget; root beer? orange? and Freshie? Yuck, not at all.

    • Hi Kim! I have to confess I was afraid to ask how much they wanted for the sign. It was huge! (And I kind of think the price tag probably was too.) We will be in Stratford, Ont., again this summer, and if the sign is still there I will make a point of asking and get back to you.

    • Kim, I now have the answer for you on that great Dairy Queen sign at the Stratford Antique Warehouse. The owner tells me that, unfortunately, it isn’t for sale at the moment. He saved it from a Dairy Queen that was being torn down in Kitchener, Ont., had it for sale for a while, but told me in an email: “I have recently fallen in love with it again. It is such a unique part of our local area heritage I am happy to be its custodian for the time being.” If I ever find out that it is for sale once again, I’ll post the particulars!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s