Beverly C. Lucey
In New England in the 1950s, the Hoods brand of ice cream and milk
products were everywhere. If our parents showed up for Open House, and
our Third Grade won in the best attendance category, Miss Butler would
buy us all “Hoodsies.” These were ice cream cups, half vanilla and
half chocolate. They came with a wide wooden stick a few inches
long--about half a tongue depressor, I would say.
It was a great day at Samuel Brown School, if we had talked our
parents into cramming themselves into small desks that were screwed
into the wooden linseed oiled floors.
After a day's work at the
leather factory, most parents wanted a beer and a ball game. If we
could beg and plead, "But Ma! Teacher said it's important. And we get
ice cream," our parents would sigh and agree to go look at our crummy
artwork and arithmetic folders. We were fierce third graders and we
We loved winning, specially, since the fourth and fifth
graders would look at us with new respect. And longing--or our ice
The inside lids on our Hoodsies were blank, but we didn’t know what we
were missing. Frankly, we didn’t care. After all, ice cream and school
were not usually uttered in the same sentence. Only Miss Butler sprang
for the Hoodsies. The Fourth Graders got ribbons and the Fifth Graders
got a free pencil.
Every Fourth of July, the City of Boston would hand out Hoodsies at
playgrounds in the area. Free. But only one per kid.
Elsewhere, Dixie Cups ruled.
In the 1950s, the Dixie company started putting pictures of baseball
players on the inside of their lids. For years they had been using
movie stars. During the 40s they used patriotic pictures, but postwar?
Baseball and TV took up a lot of time and featured lighthearted relief
about peace. Kids weren’t too aware of the Cold War, so they collected
Dixie Cup lids.
In fact, if you have a mint condition Dixie Cup lid
from 1952, it might be worth a hundred dollars. Sport figures and
Lucille Ball, from one of the first sitcoms
"I Love Lucy" were prized
Some of you people might be distracted by the name, Dixie Cups. A tune
plays in the background. “Going to the chapel and we’re gonna get
married.” You are off by a decade. The two sisters and a cousin from
New Orleans did not release their international hit on Red Bird
Records until 1964. “Going to the Chapel” is on the list of 100 top
wedding songs of all time.
Collectors must have been disappointed when the concept of pictures on
lids died in 1954. Just like people fondly remember Burma-Shave
billboards that dotted the land from 1925 to 1963, there are folks who
treasure the memory of the inside flap of an ice cream cup. As for me?
I just wanted the ice cream.
Lucey is a freelance non-fiction writer.
She has essays in Are We Teaching Yet? (Heinneman) A Cup of Comfort
for Teachers, and Rocking Chair Reader, among other anthologies. Her
articles have appeared in Henry Magazine (GA) Sassee Magazine (NC) ,
Dog and Kennel, and she has been a guest columnist for the Atlanta
Journal Constitution OpEd section.
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