Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard the saying ‘a picture says a thousand words’ at one time or another. And while that phrase often seems to be a bit of exaggeration, it can be remarkably true. Not too long ago I was visiting with some old friends that I have known since I was a young boy. Our gatherings usually consist of the usual reminiscing and retelling of stories– that oddly seem to become more elaborate and sensational as the years go on. A particular story struck me as poignant, and not because it involved anything profound but rather because it made me yearn for simpler times. It also reminded me of all the great products that I used to love that are no longer around anymore. Here’s a look at five products that I loved growing up that are no longer made.
My personal adventure with Surge began in 1996. I was visiting my aunt who lived in Georgia, not too far outside of Atlanta. For those who don’t know, Atlanta is the home to Coca-Cola’s global headquarters. This meant that many of the test market products that happened in and around Georgia. We happened to be visiting Stone Mountain for a 4th of July laser light show when I first noticed Surge. At one of the concession stands, they had a can sitting on the counter. I remember inquiring as to what the product was and being told it was a new soda. I tried it and instantly fell in love with it. While it had similarities to Mountain Dew, the flavor profiles were starkly different. Surge, to me, was more of a citrus-flavored soda than anything. It was very good and I always wondered what happened to it after I stopped seeing it at the grocery store.
The preferred non-carbonated beverage of my youth. I can still recall opening up my lunchbox at school and getting out my juicebox of Ecto Cooler. Sometimes I would have difficulties puncturing the foil top with the straw. Once I was able to breakthrough, the taste that follows was sublime. Not quite orange juice, Ecto Cooler tasted great and was even good for you-great source of vitamin C! Okay, so maybe the copious amount of sugar was probably the reason for so many trips to the dentist for filling, but it was all worth it!
My old man was the typical dad in a bowling league. Every Monday night he would lug his bowling bag, my brother and me to the alley. My brother and I always tagged along because we enjoyed playing at the alley’s arcade while he bowled. The other thing we looked forward to was stopping the local mini-mart after we left the alley. Dad would always buy us a drink of our choice as well as a snack if we were well-behaved that night. Well, during this time period, my obsession was with Clearly Canadian. My flavor of choice was Wild Cherry. This clear soda had a smooth fizzy taste that reminded me of Cherry Starburst. It was so good that I still long for it these days. A little searching yielded information stating that Clearly Canadian does indeed still exist, however, in a completely different format.
Another favorite of my teeth rooting ways was a sour chewy delight known as Shock Tarts. These candies were like Sweet Tarts, except chewy. The more you sucked on them, the sourer they tasted. These candies were available until recently under the name Shock Tarts. They have been rebranded and are now sold as Shockers, by the Willy Wonka Candy Company.
Magic Eye Books Ah, yes, the definitive fad of the nineties. These optical illusion were the source of both frustration and delight. For those who learned how to relax their eyes and unfocus, a hidden 3-d image would pop out towards you. There were whole brands of books and posters that sold like crazy. An episode of Seinfeld was even written around the difficulties of a character in seeing the hidden image.