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The Cereal Incident

Remember the days you could go to the grocer with your mother and rely on the cereal aisle to have box after box brandished with the words, and I’m paraphrasing here, ‘Free Toy Inside!’  Few and far between these days. 

I can remember hiding a box of Corn Pops under my bed overnight to be sure to get my hands on the sticky football that would tumble down any wall you chucked it at. (I was young, naive, and my brother already had one, so, fair play)

Furthermore.. do you remember the days when that fun toy was actually hidden, imbedded within the sweetness of the cereals for you to dig your hands in and excavate your prize? These days if you do luck upon a box with a toy inside, it is sealed in its own baggie, safely outside of the cereal bag itself.

Now..I understand the modern desire to sanitise everything, but spelunking the box through masses of flakes or loops or puffs or what-have-you was one of the funnest parts of childhood. You earned that free toy inside. Allow me to tell you a story..

When I was four years old my mother brought a box of cereal home from the crunchly club. The crunchly club is what, in my childlike innocence, I had dubbed “The Country Club”. A grocery store that once resided in the space that is now a Gold’s Gym just down the mall from Donatelli’s, near Century College. I’m sure many of you know the spot. 

As I recall I spent many-a-time side tracked from play, repeating those words, “crunchly club”, to my parentals, who assured me they weren’t laughing ‘at’ me. The aforementioned box of cereal was a big box of the Cap’n. Cap’n crunch. So delicious, then and now. Of course, being the good old days, this box contained a free toy inside. A robot..which perhaps did something that I can’t recall. I wanted this robot. 

Taking the box to my room I assured my mother I just wanted to look at the box. “Just don’t open it” she said. I closed the door. My first attempt to open a box of cereal culminated in an explosion of miniature yellow biscuits all over my childhood room. I immediately started weeping uncontrollably, much like a four year old, which I was. 

Frantically, and in a panic, I started cramming handful after handful of cereal pieces and carpet fibers into the mangled bag and box, chanting a mantra of ‘mom is gonna be so mad at me’ ad nauseum. When all was done I confessed my transgression to my mother between the dry hiccupy spasmic inhalations that only come to children after the most intense bouts of sobbing. I never got the robot. 

To this day I’m not sure what it did, if anything,aside from being plastic and robot-y. The cereal was likely tossed. Nobody should be eating that many foreign particles and carpet fibers.
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fuschnikt Posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 07:14 PM

Ah, yes. I had originally written this for my friends. I edited some, but left that in. It humored me that obviously nobody would know the place. Maybe should have nixed it. Still humored that you noticed. Thankfully, my Halloween submission is brand new and features nothing obscure like this. That one even has a picture..sort of.

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 06:03 PM

You mention a mall and some place called Donatelli's near Century College, and say we probably know where that is. LOL. Can't say I do. :)

fuschnikt Posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 05:53 PM

Thanks for the feedback, guys. This was my first upload. In hindsight, I should have maybe staged some photos for illustration purposes. May have also made the story more visually inviting. When I wrote it, I could picture everything happening as it did, I guess I wasn't sure how to present it as an illustrated article knowing I couldn't transcribe the visual memories in my nostalgia lobe. -DG

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 04:23 PM

LOL. Yeah, once it hits the ground it's all over for the wall crawler toys. I occasionally come across one that has been forgotten by my kids down behind a sofa or book shelf.

And yeah, pictures are recommended (as I found out the hard way over at Retro Junk, lol).

Hoju Koolander Posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 04:02 PM

Nice article. Pictures are always nice, but this is one of those unforgettable sensations you can instantly recall without them. Seeing the plastic bag poke out from behind the Rice Krispies or Cheerios was a real treat.

One of my favorite cereal prizes was a similar sticky creature, I think it was called a Wacky Wall-Crawler. This one was in the shape of an Octopus. I just remember the grossness mixed with coolness of that item and the joy that lasted all of 2 minutes until it got carpet fuzz all over it.

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