Thursday, December 8, 2011
Down throught the years I attempted to quit smoking on a number of occasions. When we moved to the farm I actually quit for about five months, though at the time I really didn't want to. When the opportunity presented itself to buy cigarettes, I eagerly took advantage of it. Off and on I would quit for various amounts of time. When I finally made up my mind to quit for good, I needed some kind of crutch to replace the tobacco. I turned to chewing gum. I've always chewed gum to one degree or another, but in the past eight or ten years I went whole hog into it. As you can see, I don't buy gum just by the pack, I buy it by the carton. For one thing, it cost about half as much to buy it by the carton at Costco than to purchase it here in town. Plus, a single pack of gum only used to last me about a day. There are eighteen sticks in one of these Trident packs. Now, unless I'm really stressed over something, I only go through half or three quarters of a pack. When I worked at the school I went through a considerable amount more. I worked with special needs children and it was a good way to calm down a situation or reward good behaviour.
I did a little research on chewing gum and found out some interesting facts. Apparently, people have been chewing some semblance of gum for hundreds of years. In Greece the ladies used to chew the extract from a Mastic tree, while the natives of North America chewed the resin from Spruce trees. In 1848 John Curtis marketed the first commercial chewing gum under the name Maine Pure Spruce Gum. It sounds like something that would appeal to the environmental, all natural groups we have now. I think I would have to pass on it. He later came up with a flavored paraffin that was popular. The first commercial chewing gum utilizing chicle was made by inventor Thomas Adams. The Mexican general, Santa Anna who was exiled to New York introduced Adams to chicle.Like many of his fellow countrymen he chewed chicle. Adams first tried to utilize it as a substitute for rubber in toys, masks and boots but it didn't work. As the story goes he was sitting in his shop discouraged and popped a piece of chicle in his mouth. Shortly thereafter he marketed Adams New York #1 chewing gum. In 1871 he add flavor to his gum and Black Jack was born. I've chewed many a pack of Black Jack gum. My grandma used to get upset at me for chewing it. She thought it was nasty. For her Beeman's pepsin gum was the only way to go. In 1906 the first bubble gum was invented by Frank Fleer. He called it Blibber Blubber and apparently it was a flop. Hmmm... I can't imagine why. How would you like to go to the counter of your local grocers and ask for a pack of Blibber Blubber. You'd probably get slapped. I believe Franks brother eventually had success with another person coming up with some kind of acceptable bubble gum. Contrary to what my mom believed, I didn't chew a lot of bubble gum. I mean if you only had a penny or two, and you didn't want a pretzel, then bubble gum was a good alternative. If I recall correctly, you used to be able to buy a pack of Chum Gum for three cents. That was pretty good stuff. Probably the best bubble gum was the stuff that came in baseball cards. I was never a sports fan, so I could care less about the cards, but once in a while I would buy a pack of cards just for the gum. The Topps company, the folks who made baseball cards used to include them in packs of cigarettes. That would have been an incentive to buy cards when I was a teenager. I read that the reason that there isn't any chocolate gum is that the cocoa butter breaks down the ingredients in the gum. That's ok with me. If I want chocolate I'll go grab a candy bar. Once in awhile I forget to clean out my pockets when I'm doing the laundry. It's only happened a few times, but even once is too often. I open the lid of the washing machine and there are all the little sticks of gum interspersed with the socks and underwear. There's no way I'm going to try and salvage that stuff! Somehow I didn't get all the gum out before I put my clothes in the dryer once and now I have several permanent dark streaks on the drum inside. Fortunately it's seemed to have dried and hasn't transferred to my clothes. It's even better that it hasn't transferred to Jan's clothes or I'd be buying a new dryer. One little oversight and you can be in the dog house forever. I checked the Trident package and see that the manufacturer is Cadbury Adams USA LLC. I think it should be Adams Cadbury. After all, old Thomas came up with the idea. Before I end this post I would like to point out that one of the long time residents here, Adam Greenwald, has an uncle who, according to Adam invented the first workable gum wrapping machine. He sold the patent to Wrigleys and retired a millionaire. Perhaps I should be investing in the Cadbury Adams company. Then if I don't retire a millionaire, at least I might be able to trade in my stock for chewing gum.