Michigan’s Infatuation With Bubble & Chewing Gum (Plus Vintage Gum from 1900-1970)
Our whole country has had a love affair with chewing & bubble gum for as long as.....well, for as long as there has been gum. And this year, when the masks came off, gum sales went up.
Michiganders seem to enjoy it somewhat more than people in other states. No, I have no survey or poll or documented proof of that. I'm just basing it on what I've observed over the decades.
It probably starts with toddlers around Christmastime. The stockings were hung, filled to the brim with candy and gum. This was years before we were told to put healthy stuff in those stockings...but back then, those stuffed socks made our eyes bulge and we started eating and chewing, spoiling our breakfast appetite.
Those big wads of gum were sooooooo tasty! One wasn't enough. We had to jam a few more in there, sometimes as many as we could, to get more of that unique, fruity, bubblegummy flavor.
Next stop in childhood was being old enough to go down to the corner store and buy our own gum. My favorites were Sputnik, Dubble Bubble, Chum Gum (3 sticks for a penny!), Sour Apple, and Sour Grape. Sometimes the gumballs weren't even wrapped – they just sat on the shelf in an open box. Can't get away with that now.
Then came the school years, where chewing gum in class was forbidden. Getting caught chewing gum meant staying after school in detention. Sometimes the teacher would make us swallow it. No big deal – sometimes we'd swallow it anyway, especially if we thought we were about to get caught.
Have you ever looked under some of those old desks? Many of them were caked with wads of chewed gum from students not wanting to be caught. Desk gum wasn't so unique, though...you could find hundreds of chewed gum wads under the counter of your local bar, or in the aisle of movie theaters, or even on the bottom of your shoe just from walking down the sidewalk.
Gum gets everywhere: in hair, beards, shirts, pants, pockets, chairs, rugs, pets, ash trays.....and that pesky piece sticking to the bottom of the wastebasket that won't come out when you turn it upside- down. Yet we love it, always have, and always will.
How much do we love it? Michigan's own Faygo pop has a bubblegum flavor. There's bubblegum ice cream, bubblegum soap, bubblegum frosting, bubblegum lemonade, bubblegum jello, bubblegum martinis, bubblegum cake, bubblegum marshmallow peeps, bubblegum cookies.....and the list continues.
I wonder if bubblegum pie will ever happen?
I've traveled to other states and have seen their gum racks still full.
Michigan gum racks seem to empty quicker.
I've looked under bar counters.
Under bar stools.
Stores have no bubblegum pop or ice cream.
As I observed people walking down the street, they're not chewing gum...they're smoking, vaping, eating, or drinking coffee. No gum chewers.
Yet here in Michigan, we do not hide the jones we have for gum.
The whole point is, we love gum.
Bubble or chewing, we love it.
So Michigan, open up and enjoy it whenever you can...and do not be ashamed.
Now see a gallery of old & discontinued gums below!
Discontinued/Vintage Bubblegum & Chewing Gum
HERE ARE MANY MORE DISCONTINUED AND VINTAGE FOODS!
LOOK: 40 Discontinued & Special Edition Kellogg's Cereals
Gallery Credit: John Robinson