Two separate conversations I’ve had with two different sets of people in two different locations over the course of the last two weeks have gone something like this:
Me: “Do y’all remember those powdery suckers?”
Fellow conversers: “No.”
Me: “Oh, you remember them. They were roundish but also kinda flat on top and powdery and they came in different pale colors and they were powdery.”
Fellow conversers: “Oh, yeah. They had those short, hollow sticks. I liked them.”
Me: “I hated them. The powder turned my stomach.”
Fellow conversers: “Hmm. Not sure why you insisted on reminding us of something you hate. But speaking of lollipops, I really miss those Life Savers suckers.”
That’s right, dear readers. Without being prompted, two sets of folks — with only me in common – shared their remembrances of lollipops past. A converser from conversation number two seemed especially attuned to the emotional memories of her taste buds. Indeed, with tears forming in her eyes, she related how she’s told her teenage daughter that she would love for her to be able to enjoy one of those Life Saver lollipops of her youth.
For those of you unfamiliar with the suckers, they were officially known as Life Savers Swirled Pops. Although they were larger than regular Life Savers, I could make one disappear in approximately three bites. They came in four flavors — blueberry and vanilla, orange and vanilla, cherry and banana, and strawberry and vanilla.
I can’t remember trying the blueberry and vanilla, I’m not a fan of orange-flavored treats, and the strawberry and vanilla turned my stomach. But the cherry and banana was so good that I can understand why my friend wishes her daughter could enjoy the fruity lollipop. For reals. It’s something that everyone should experience at least one or two hundred times.
The company quit making the lollipops at some point and, to be honest, I hadn’t thought of the product in dozens of years. What’s more, I can’t remember the last time I had a Life Saver. But when I was a child, I would frequently accompany my parents to the store. It was most likely the Piggly Wiggly or, later, the Food City. When we reached the checkout lane, my mom always let me pick a treat from the rack of candy. Sometimes I chose cinnamon Tic Tacs while other times I selected a pack of bubblegum or a tube of wild cherry Life Savers.
I’m sure I would have opted for a cherry and banana Swirled Pop if given the chance. But not a strawberry and vanilla or one of those powdery suckers. They turned my stomach.
This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.