Twinkies And 7up cover

Twinkies And 7up

By


I guess you had to grow up in the 1960s to realize that snacks weren’t always healthy fresh fruits, and whole grain products.
Our high school class of 1974 has a Facebook page with 46 members. It’s a closed group that friends only seem to post when someone from our graduating class dies. Last night I received a notification on my phone from that group.





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Twinkies And 7up

12 Years Old

We were 12 years old at the time in sixth grade, pranksters.

My good friends Perry Marlette, Nathan Robertson, and I were the adolescent boys who “terrorized" the town of Cuba, Illinois with pranks that drove our local cop batty. After our adventures we would retreat back to Perry’s house and his mother would refuel us with Hostess Twinkies and 7up.

I guess you had to grow up in the 1960s to realize that snacks weren’t always healthy fresh fruits, and whole grain products.

Luxury Treat

Luxury Treat

Of course, we devoured crackers and cheese, nuts, and a variety of munchies but what sticks in my mind was the sugar rush from Twinkies and 7up. Maybe it’s because it was not something my mother would buy for our family. It was a luxury!

Too Soon

I can hear you asking, “What in the world reminded you of this?”

Our high school class of 1974 has a Facebook page with 46 members. It’s a closed group that friends only seem to post when someone from our graduating class dies.

In our small town we came to know each other quite well. Many of us were in the same school from first grade all throughout high school.

Last night I received a notification on my phone from that group. It could only mean one thing. Another member has passed from our class.

It was Perry, only 59 years old.

Back To The Future...

In order to completely understand our friendship, allow me take you “Back to the Future” . . .

“You know how this goes,” said my sixth grade teacher. “Face the chalk board, feet spread apart, bend over, hands on the desk." Sssmaaack as the paddle hit its mark on my hind-side.

Honestly, I don’t even remember what this paddling was for. But I do remember the sting, and the embarrassment I felt standing in front of the class. No, I wasn’t only one.

Now that I think about it, Perry Marlette was one of the boys bent over with me that day.

Target Acquired

Like all schools, we had our share of misfits.

In our small, rural farming community of west central Illinois I’m happy to report there was no teen violence, no shootings, and no serious vandalism.

Well, ok, back to the local policeman, who we dubbed Barney Fife. A group of us would hide behind Jim Welch’s garden fence on Main Street and throw leftover rotted tomatoes as “Barney” drove by.

We were cunning. After dark we would fill paper bags with rotten tomatoes and shower Barney’s car as he patrolled Main Street.

Picture Of Innocence

Picture Of Innocence

There were three of us, Perry, Nathan, and me. Immediately after the tomato pounding we would high-tail it over fences, though back yards, back to Nathan’s house casually resting in lawn chairs as Barney drove up in front of the house.

Hangin' Out

With trepidation he would ask, “What are you boys up to tonight?”

“Nothin’, Just hangin’ out.”

As soon as he pulled away, in a flash we were back behind the fence on Main Street. And yet again he would get pounded with rotten tomatoes.

We were masters of projectile launch angles.

You know, Barney never caught us or even figured out it was us. The blame always went to the local high school boys who raced around town in an old pickup truck. They were jerks. They deserved it.

"Let's head over to my house for some Twinkies and 7up." Anyway . . .

Transgressions

During those formative grade school years, 1965-1967, the sting of Mr. Tarter’s paddle was a regular occurrence.

The entire grade school feared this disciplinarian. His paddle was prominently displayed for all to see. I can’t remember any girls getting the paddle. Oh well, I’m sure we deserved it. We were told repeatedly:

“No running in the halls.” Every day when the bell rang for recess it was, “Last one out is a Barney.”

“Stop shooting spit-wads at each other.”

“Ok, guys - new plan,” whispered Perry. “Shoot your spit-wads at the ceiling - they'll stick.”

In winter it was, “No snowball fights during recess.” Nothing was said about rotten tomatoes.

Serious Stuff

Yes, we can laugh about this now but back then it was serious stuff.

The principal always sent a note home with the delinquent who received discipline. I remember many classmates in tears, more afraid of the note and what their parents would do than the paddling itself.

We admired Perry, he was smart. “Just tear the note up - duh,” he would say. He never got in trouble at home. His Dad worked at the Number Nine Mine office, and his mom, a nurse, was always at the doctors office.

Throughout grade school and high school we had many wild adventures together.

Rest In Peace

After graduation Nathan and I attended the local junior college, then Western Illinois University. Perry moved away to serve in the U.S. Army from 1974-1978.

Our lives went in very different directions. We lost touch with him until about 1979. He married a girl from our graduating class, and moved to Colchester, Illinois. Perry graduated from Western in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in geography and a minor in geology.

Wow! Did we party during our college years at Perry’s house, but that’s another story.

Maybe I’ll have some Twinkies and 7up as a tribute to Perry. On second thought, maybe not.

Rest in peace my friend.