I was thinking the other day, I wish I had a Dixie cup. I had not thought of such a cup in years. I was snacking on almonds and I thought one of those little waxy cups would be the perfect holder for my healthy almonds. Instead I grabbed a paper napkin.
When I was a kid, my mother bought a plastic tube like object that held Dixie cups – small waxy cups that popped out of the dispenser one at a time. So if I wanted a drink of water or a little bit of juice but not a full glass, I grabbed a Dixie cup. That way, Mom didn’t have to wash 8,000 glasses or cups at the end of the day.
Memaw's solution to this was -- in her estimation -- far better. Each one of her grandchildren had their designated plastic Tupperware cup with their names on it in permanent ink. Lord help you if Memaw caught you drinking out of a real glass. You would find yourself on dishwashing duty and there was no dishwasher. Everything was washed by hand.
Dixie cups were always great for snacking. They held cookies, chips, peanuts, marshmallows, etc. When I had finished with them, I could mash down part of the rim and make a mod chair for Barbie. She had an entire Dixie cup dining room set.
I went on YouTube to see if I could find perhaps an old commercial for Dixie cups and found… a hip hop song called Dixie Cup. I didn’t want to play it because I assume it has something dirty in it. No thanks. I would rather listen to the old girl group called The Dixie Cups, if I’m going to go the cup music route. They had a big hit many years ago with “Iko Iko” which -- oh crap now I realize even that old song has rather disturbing lyrics for that day and time, talking about killing and setting things on fire.. [but the song has a good beat and you can dance to it]
After a minute I realized that in the YouTube search box I needed to use the words "commercial" and "vintage" to illustrate what I mean by convenience:
Watch the commercial above. This line made me chuckle: "Since we got Dixie dispensers, there's a lot less trouble around here." Yeah, Mom can happily watch her soap operas while the kids get their own cups and drink up all the sugary stuff in the house, without Mom knowing! Win win situation.
My mother was, for the 1960's, kind of a health fanatic, at least compared to some of the other moms. We sat down to a hot meal together every night, and my brother and I had to eat at least one serving of vegetables and an entire glass of milk. Mom lectured on The Four Food Groups so often I knew that one by heart. I also heard "Keep your elbows OFF the table!" [Dad's favorite admonition] and "Don't say you don't like something you've never tried. Take one bite." [Mom's most often-used phrase]
Now, a lot of veggies were canned but unlike now, finding veggies in the grocery store out of season was not always possible.
Mom also had to deal with me, the Picky Eater. I refused to eat entire categories of vegetables. When I was 17 and spent a week with my aunt and uncle on my own, Mom called my aunt Myrtle and said "Dee only eats lettuce and green beans but I want her to have a vegetable every night." I figured that out about the 4th night, because in addition to whatever she cooked, Myrt faithfully put a LARGE bowl of either lettuce or green beans next to my plate, and I had to eat it. Every night. For a week.
After that, I expanded my repertoire to include cucumbers [peeled, of course] and the occasional raw green pepper or celery stalk. I much preferred cheeseburgers or fried chicken to any vegetable, however.
There were other rules I had for eating: my food couldn't touch, I ate all of one thing at a time, and there better not be any weird looking specks in the food [such as pepper! ACK!].
I know I sound like a spoiled brat, right?!?
OTOH, I helped Mom a lot. I was learning to cook by the age of about 4, and by 5 I could make tuna salad or jello salad. I asked for an Easy Bake Oven around that time and Mom thought that was a waste of money, so she began a program called Teach Dee to Cook! I did eventually get a knockoff toy, sort of the Walmart version of Easy Bake Oven, but it made tiny weird little hamburgers cooked over a light bulb.
We went through a succession of Horrible Babysitters [another entire blog could be written about that] when I was under age 8 and we still lived in Augusta. We had a regular babysitter, Mrs. Lord, who we loved and she made us obey, BUT she wasn't always available and Mom and Dad went out a lot. One babysitter, who I think was a teenager from the neighborhood, completely ignored us, so Bruce and I got in the kitchen and cooked up treats in Dixie cups -- I think we used some chocolate chips and marshmallows and Lord knows what else. When Mom got home and saw the mess in the kitchen she was NOT amused and that teenager never came back.
By the time I was ten I could make a cake mix cake, which was dangerous. One time when I was about twelve or fourteen I spent the afternoon with my friend Joanne, and her mom had put a cake mix in the pantry. We got it out and made ourselves a cake and ate about 90% of it. I remember the stomach ache like it was yesterday. Joanne, an only child, was always good, until she got around me. I was a Bad Influence.
Bruce learned to cook about the same time. Mom was reminiscing about that the other day. He would watch her cook a lot of times when he was a teenager, munching on bread because he was always hungry, and so he learned how to season foods particularly well.
I know it's not politically correct, or environmentally correct, but I miss the convenience of the Dixie Cup. I also miss ice cream floats, fizzy tablets you dropped in water and then drank, Hawaiian punch, Bosco, Tang, and pretty much all foods made my Memaw and Papaw...
It's pleasant to look back, though.
photos of the "new house" in Knoxville, a few months after we moved. I was 8 years old.