The Day The Twinkie Machine Stopped

Twinkies (Hostess Twinkies is a trademark of I...

As I sit here, writing this love letter to Hostess Snack Cakes and Wonder Bread, I am surrounded by a pile of plastic wrappers and chocolate crumbs, research for my latest blog on the snack food of my youth. I am saddened and slightly nauseous. I am also wondering how did we ever survive, eating so much junk as kids?

I grew up in a town outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Marlboro. Actually, now that I come to think of it, Marlboro is a city. Everyone was so proud that it was a city, and not a town, so I’d better get that one right.

The Hostess Bakery is closing shop, forever. My first field trip ever, was to the Hostess Bakery (factory) in Natick, Massachusetts. I remember the smell of the fresh-baked bread in the parking lot, and the windy days of March. I also remember bringing a bag lunch and the fact that they let us wear those paper hats while we took the tour. The very same hats as the REAL bakers. I remember my friend Joey and I were so excited to see how Twinkies were made. I’ll bet you didn’t know that Twinkies actually taste very good, just out of the oven.The bakers were so proud of their jobs, and we were so impressed. At the end of the day, Joey and I told our Mom’s we wanted to grow up and work at the bakery, filling the Twinkies with cream. The greatest of all possible things happened the day we took the tour: The cream machine broke and cream was being squirted all over the place, even on us! We squealed with delight. Surely, this had to have been the best job, ever!

Joey never made it to work at The Wonder Bakery. He ended up working in construction of homes, not snack cakes. Sad to say, my childhood friend ended up passing away very young, in his 40’s, of a heart condition. Congenital, not from Twinkies. He would want you to know that. He was also the friend who taught me how to put playing cards on my bicycle with a clothspin, so it would sound like a motorcycle when I rode around the neighborhood. Cooler than cool, when you are eight years old.

I used to live across the street from a Mom and Pop corner store, called Tom’s Market. Tom carried a whole line of Hostess products, Yodels, Funny Bones, Fruit Pies (Cherry was my favorite), Ring Dings and Twinkies. It was like living next door to a crack house and being addicted to crack. It was the 60’s and 70″s, the era of too much TV, and too many packaged foods that we didn’t know would eventually harm us. It was the age of running outside all day,riding bikes and swimming, hide and seek and baseball and street hockey. This was our job, as kids. We burned off all those sugar highs.

I went to the store in my town this morning, to buy some Hostess products for the last time. I bought Funny Bones , Ring Dings and Yodels. Everything else had been sold earlier in the morning,the clerk said. I don’t know if his name was Tom, he didn’t say and I didn’t ask. These are the days we live in now. I did eat one of those Ring Dings, for old-times sake. It left me feeling queasy, from too much sugar and fake chocolate and perhaps a little bit for saying goodbye to another chapter of my youth. Tonight, I will have a Twinkie, one last time. For Joey.

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4 thoughts on “The Day The Twinkie Machine Stopped

  1. Ohhhhh, it’s sad, about Twinkies. Unbelievably I have never had one. Yodels got all my attention.
    Love your writing Sandy, I could picture everything from your description. Lovely tribute to sugar and childhood friendship.

  2. I love your writing, too, Sandy! Although my Mom was not a Twinkie buyer I do remember an occasional Hostess treat as a kid. But your description of days spent playing outside left me feeling nostalgic. I do remember having a Funny Bones habit in high school. I ate them with a white milk for lunch every day. No breakfast, no lunch other than that. Then I would go home and have 2 slices of white bread spread thickly with peanut butter (like open sandwiches) and more milk or Franco American Spaghetti for a “snack” before dinner. Those were the days! I won’t really miss those Hostess products, haven’t indulged in years, but I do miss those days sometimes! Enjoy the rest of the weekend, see you Monday!

  3. Many thanks, friends. My kids looked very concerned as I gave them a Ring Ding for breakfast. Not the usual fare at my house, either! Their Dad Did have a closet habit of eating Yodels, and we would find his wrappers in his car. A baby boomers secret vice!

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