Admit it. Go on. You craved them. One more. Oozing white cream filling gushing into your mouth, tantalizing taste buds out of all proportion. The intermingling of chocolate cake with the creamy center, the stiff white circular design atop the cupcakes, with a surge of cream spilling over your fingers as the delight of a SuzyQ filled your mouth. The chemical vanillaness of a Twinkie enhanced the finale of the lunchbox experience of 1960’s school children as they snarfed down bologna sandwiches with ketchup between two slices of Wonder Bread. Not that I was ever acquainted with a Wonder Bread sandwich. My sandwiches were ensconced between slices of Ronzoni’s crusty Italian bread. The sandwich part of lunch was followed by the crunch-crunch-crunch of carrot and/or celery sticks, which Mama placed in ample supply in my Barbie lunchbox tin. All of this led to the primo aspect of classroom lunch: a cellophane wrapped Twinkie.
Alas, yesterday the music died. The last Ho-Ho’s were placed in boxes, machines were switched off, the lights killed, and, according to The New York Times on Saturday, November 17, 2012, and most of the 18,500 employees were out of a job. For Hostess Brands shuttered its factories, and the ensuing silence was deafening.
Deconstructing a Sno Ball brightened up the gray landscape of long Midwest winters spent in parochial school. Swapping a package of Sno Balls to gain one of Suzie Q’s was practically an art form at lunchtime. Of course, this snack time brokering was among those fortunate enough to have mothers who placed a Twinkie in the well-appointed lunchbox. Rare was the day that Mama placed a Hostess Brand delight in mine. Daddy was forever turning over boxes and packages to read contents.
“Oh, my achin’-a back! Look-a all-a this chemical-a junks in-a this!” he exclaimed to Mama. “Why you-a waste—a money on-a these-a junks? They no-a good-a for-a the kids.”
“A little Twinkie treat every now and then isn’t going to harm them.”
“Humph,” snorted Daddy.
Often one of Hostess cherished treats appeared in my lunchbox on a Friday. By the time my brother Frankie was old enough to appreciate a good cupcake, Hostess had added Ding Dongs and Ring Dings wrapped in foil.
The economic tragedy is in those thousands of Hostess Brand employees turned loose from their jobs, many of which, I’m guessing, were generational. Yet the closing of Hostess
Brands is another vestige of my childhood now gone with the wind. Today I may have to raid a grocery shelf to purchase a package of SuzyQ’s before they vanish for good. Well in advance of New Year’s Eve, I feel compelled to sing a chorus of For Auld Ang Syne to salute the now bygone Hostess with the Mostess.
Ciao for now.