Missing Old-School Kool-Aid
Photo by Joanna O'Leary
First, a haiku:
Cool flavors are gone The Wacky Warehouse is closed Kool-Aid I miss you
The Kool-Aid I knew as a child seems to have disappeared. Yes, I know that people are still drinking the Kool-Aid; production of "jammers" and "bursts" are in full swing, and you can still find large canisters of the (sweetened or unsweetened) powder on supermarket shelves.
But the age of the individual, mix-it-yourself, inventively flavored packets seems to be over.
I guess in mourning its end, I'm also mourning the passing of my childhood, because Kool-Aid was the Official Beverage of Tween Joanna. Although my parents religiously restricted my soda consumption, I was allowed unlimited amounts of Kool-Aid. (I think they liked that with the latter, one can control the sugar content. Don't know, however, if Mom and Dad ever exercised that option.)
Anyway, I probably drank about a gallon of Kool-Aid a day, always amused by the wide range of flavors (my favorites included Pink Swimmingo and Rock-A-Dile Red). Other children of the '80s might recall that each packet of Kool-Aid used to be worth a certain number of points, which could be redeemed by snail mail for goodies from the Wacky Warehouse. This incredible webpage led me to remember that once I was even able to save up enough points for a Kool-Aid pitcher and cups.
Up until recently, I wasn't keeping tabs on Kool-Aid. How forlorn I was to spot a "discontinued" sign next to several individual packets in the grocery store. Also troubling was my realization that most of my favorite flavors are no longer available. No equally tantalizing substitutions have been offered, and instead the packets are limited to the pedestrian Grape, Cherry, Orange, Pink Lemonade, etc.
Perhaps most disconcerting of all was my subsequent discovery that the point system has been abolished. What happened to the Wacky Warehouse? Granted, it's unclear whether this structure existed in real life (though my neighbor Ashley insisted she had visited it in Chicago). I know I still have a worn envelope of points floating around in storage; what am I supposed to do with those? Have they gone the way of green stamps?
Readers, do you miss old-school Kool-Aid? Do the flavors Purplesaurus Rex and Man-O-Mango-Berry evoke fond memories? Are you similarly laden with hundreds of now-useless Wacky Warehouse points?
Responses in the form of haiku especially welcome.
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