Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kool-Aid, It Ain't Ghetto

I am 50-something and, recently, it has been brought to my attention that drinking Kool-Aid is ghetto. How in the world did I miss this endorsement?

As kids we were treated to Fizzies soft drink tablets. These magical tablets more often ended on our tongues rather than in a tall glass of water. My younger sisters and I would run through the house snarling at one another with various colors of foam oozing from our mouths as we pretended to be rabid animals. No wonder there were those times when our mother would throw up her hands and, for a brief moment, surrender to our “un-lady-like” behavior. Days would then go by without our afternoon Fizzies frenzy. Enough of this prohibition; we would drag a chair from the dining table to the kitchen counter. As one of us would climb up to search the cabinets, the other two would serve as lookouts and wait for the victory cry, “Found ‘em!”.

One Saturday morning, during our ritual cartoon marathon, we were introduced to a giant talking pitcher as it crashed through the garden wall, “Oh, yeah”. The kids in the commercial were happy and having lots of fun and the mom seemed very pleased as she poured glasses of this icy concoction. How could we get our hands on this new drink? This drink called Kool-Aid was sure to change our lives.

The older we became the less we were invited to participate in the family grocery shopping. I guess our mother began to tire of her basket being filled with boxes of the latest sugar coated cereals and forbidden snacks. Not to mention the scene at the checkout with three whining kids as she set aside the items she had not placed in her basket. It did, however, take her several trips to realize it was her own daughters placing those unwanted items because she would blame other shoppers for mistaking her basket for theirs. We knew tagging along with her to the market was not an option.

We set about our plan to obtain this life-changing refreshment. We tried peer pressure, “Vicki’s mother buys Kool-Aid and so does Linda and Debbie’s mom”. She ignored us. We also tried, “They say Kool-Aid is good for you”. That didn’t work either. Still faced with the quest of obtaining our drink mix, we remembered Mother jotting down a list before leaving for the market. This list would rest on top of a stack of McCall’s and Woman’s Day magazines for several days as she poured through the pages discovering new recipes. We would simply add Kool-Aid to her list. And, with very little thought, we’d use forgery.

I tore three pages from my Big Chief tablet and, with her list in front of us, we gave our creative best to copy her cursive writing. Oddly, it was the youngest (only 4 years old) that seemed to have the artistic ability to forge Mother’s handwriting. Well, sort of, okay…not really, but she was the “baby” and the least likely to get in trouble if our scheme was discovered. She took Mother’s pen and carefully scrawled our request to the bottom of the list. Then, giggling all the way, we ran to my bedroom, closed the door behind us and hid under the bed. We were excited! We were scared!

The next day we noticed the list was gone. Had she been to the market? Was the Kool-Aid up in the cabinets? No. Our daddy had taken the list! We waited outside for Daddy’s return and offered to wag the bags from the car to the kitchen. After the first trip I remained behind to do some snooping. I rustled through the bags until my eyes finally focused on the brightly colored envelopes. I swear, the angels began to sing as I pulled the Holy Grail from the bag; our quest for the coveted drink mix was over.

Lo and behold our lives began to change. We were no longer forgers; we were now entrepreneurs. We set up a folding card table and taped a sign to it that announced our Kool-Aid stand was open for business. We sat diligently, waved at all the passers-by until they had to stop for a refreshing glass - it was delicious. We had regular customers and we were rolling in the dough. On really hot days we offered popsicles made from Kool-Aid we had frozen in our molds. We blended flavors together for new taste sensations. We were happy and having lots of fun.

Yes, there have been many times in my life where I put aside my Kool-Aid for the sophistication of more adult-like drinks, but I always come back. I raised my children on Kool-Aid. Even as I write this piece, I am enjoying a Kool-Aid cocktail made by blending mango and cherry flavors. Now, I ask you, when did drinking Kool-Aid become ghetto?

Originally published on 09/28/08, this was my very first post here at The Screaming Me-Me. Today marks my 200th post!.


  1. Ghetto?

    I think you're confusing "Kool Aid" with "LL Kool Aid."

    I may have that wrong.

  2. @ moooooog - Well, maybe I do. Oh, yeah!

  3. Kool-Aid was awesome, when we got it.

    My Mom bought the generic store brand, like Drink-Aid, or Flavor-Aid, and it wasn't as good.

    I retrospect the names sound like an charity-Aid concert of some sort.

  4. Kool-Aid was it! Only to be pre-empted by Tang for a short while but the ever loved Kool-Aid bounced back. What kid didn't beg their mother to buy the smiling Kool-Aid Pitcher? Sadly my mom would never give in on this one.

  5. Thank you MeMe.

    I'm so glad I'm not the only one who was aghast with disbelief at those Kool-Aid haters.

    I love my Kool-Aid.

    And haters beware! I shall sic my zombies on ye!

    heh heh heh

  6. I'm 50-something and I don't even know what it means to be ghetto. Or should that read, "because I'm 50-something I don't know what it means to be ghetto."

    I haven't had Kool-Aid for decades, but I used to love it as a kid. I've always been a sucker for a happy face.

  7. @ Grumpy, MD - Oh, I also remember Funny Face drink mix. They had to change the names of a couple of their flavors due to racial sensitivity in the 60's - "Injun Orange" and "Chinese Cherry".

    @ Buggys - We didn't have the smiling pitcher either, but we had Tupperware!

    @ Quirky - Maybe we could wear an awareness ribbon - Kool-Aid Drinkers Unite!

    @ Joel - There was no ghetto back then, at least where I was from. You must try some of the new flavors, they are delicious.

  8. good story - Ever since the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana, the name Kool-aid has picked up this other meaning as in "drinking the kool-aid". Slang uses of words often cause problems.
    I thought the fizzie tablets were more fun.

    BTW - are you going to do much more with your other Turquoise Moon blog?

  9. I lived for Kool-Aid before my ex turned me onto Dr. Pepper. Maybe I should return to the fold... but only if they have Dr. Pepper flavor.

    BTW... my favorite flavor is still cherry!

  10. I used to love Kool-Aid and I just remember Tang also. The astronauts drank that, so every kid did do. The one thing I remember to this day is the fact that nothing stained your clothes, face and carpeting better then Kool-Aid. I wonder if you drink a lot of grape kool-aid your internal organs turn purple?

  11. Strawberry or cherry Kool-Aid and rum is the nectar of the gods. Well, maybe not as a kid. That was a vodka Tom Collins!

  12. My favorite: grape Kool-Aid. Wouldn't mind some right now, in fact. Sweet and tart, and very refreshing. I didn't even know they still make it, so thanks for the walk down memory lane. And now I'm off to the grocery store.......

  13. Congratulations on reaching your 200th post, by the way. Just think, if you hadn't wasted your time blogging, you could've written a book and made some money instead. Talk about drinking the Kool-Aid.

  14. Oh, how I used to love Fizzies! They were a supreme treat in the summer. Kool Aid was not allowed but I do not know why (I never questioned it, as long as I had those Fizzies)

  15. I believe I drank that in college...out of a garbage can...which kinda makes me sick to think about now!! I loved your koolaid stand!!-

  16. Growing up in the 60's and '70's, we had 4 beverage choices in our house: Water, milk, sun tea or Kool-Aid. We couldn't have soda but we could have Kool-Aid make with an entire cup of sugar. Go figure.

  17. That was a cute story, Me-Me. I'm presuming "ghetto" is a good thing? I'm with Joel: 50 something and clueless. Happy 200! Let's celebrate!!!

  18. Congrats on the 200th post! I grew up on Kool-aid too! Oh the good times!

  19. I've got me a good sugar rush going!

    Congrats on #200!

  20. George Lopez did a bit once about kool-aid being a ghetto poor substitute, but I don't remember how it went. I think he's hilarious even if I never remember his bits later. I think it's been 40 years since I gave up kool-aid, funny post.

  21. You are NEVER too old for Kool Aid.. I drink it still, and I'm so far from ghetto its not even funny...

  22. Congrats on all those posts!

    I have some patients that I have named "The Kool Aid Kids". They are pretty ghetto.

  23. OMG Kool Aid is ghetto? NO WAY! I grew up on Kool Aid and poured gallons of it down my own kids. When my daughter was still in diapers she had been drinking so much red kool aid that what came out was all red. Scared the crap out of her dad....ROFL

  24. Congrats on 200 posts! I think Kool Aid first went Ghetto on the 70's sitcom "Good Times" - you remember Jimmy "JJ" Walker - used to think that Kool Aid was DY-NO-MITE! JJ lived in the Projects - not quite the ghetto - but close.

  25. Congratulations!

    I've wondered where this ghetto thing came from too. Everyone knows the people in the ghetto drink malt liquor in 40 oz cans.

  26. @ lisleman - No doubt, Fizzies were more fun. I'm afraid I bowed to Madison Ave advertising. Turquoise Moon is on hold for the moment.

    @ CatLadyLarew - Dr. Pepper flavor would be awesome. I know a Quirky girl that would love it.

    @ ManOverBoard - Most of the boys in the neighborhood drank Tang. If grape turns your inards purple, man, I'm in trouble.

    @ Don - I remember many a college party with concoctions made with Kool-Aid.

    @ MikeWJ - Grape is my favorite too. Delicious! Thanks for the well wishes. *smirk*

    @ Lidian - I would love to get my hands on some Fizzies. I wonder, do they still sell them? I'll check eBay.

    @ Lee - Out of a garbage can? LOL! Bottoms up, glug...glug...glug.

    @ Kelly - Same here, no soda allowed. My mom told me once you had to be 21 to drink Coca-Cola. I was 9 when I finally caught on.

    @ dufus - Wooohooo, a round of Kool-Aid for everyone.

    @ AmyLK - You're so right, those were definitely good times.

    @ Geek Girl - I always have a sugar rush going on, otherwise I'd be napping.

    @ Jude - Come back, come back to the Kool-Aid generation.

    @ Nipsy - Atta girl!

    @ kyslp - Thank you. I'd love to hear about your patients.

    @ Ann - No, it's not ghetto! I gave me son a scare with my grandson.

    @ JGiddy - Thanks. You are right, it was JJ that brought Kool-aid to the ghetto. Damn him!

  27. Happy 200th to ya! I never had Fizzies, but we always had Kool-Aid when I was a kid. And now I'm hankerin' for some...

  28. I remember this, one of your best, and very much enjoyed reading it again.

  29. I think I spent most of my childhood summers with an indelible Kool-Aid moustache. Red was my favorite flavor (they were named for fruits? We just called them by color.)

    Now, my kids swear the Kool-Aid lemonade beats the real thing, hands down. (Perhaps it might have something to do with the seven cups of sugar per half gallon?... search me.)

    But in a world where moms everywhere are turning to vitamin enriched carob soy milk for their children, there is something wonderful about breaking out the Kool-aid. It brings 'em running from miles around.

    But ghetto?? Nah. It's old-school.

    Tang is ghetto.


    - Julia at Midwest Moms

  30. What an awesome story. What did your mother do when she realized what had happened? Oh my gosh. Did you get in trouble?

  31. congrats on your 200th post! as far as the kool aid goes, your story was great!


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