Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Memories Of Growing Up With Diabetes - And Food Still Comes To Mind!

THANKS, Internetzs!
Ancient Pepsi Vending Machine from Tap Dancing Class!

I know I wrote about Diabetes Food Quirks a few weeks back, and Amy T over at Diabetesmine wrote about losing control when it came to diabetes food frustrations, HERE.
But after having a conversation about growing up with a friend recently and while being interviewed for a podcast for her school project (how times have changed), food, diabetes and childhood memories once again had my mind spinning!
I’ve never eaten Fluff or cotton candy and I never tasted a Root beer float until I was 30 something.
Before my diagnoses, I have fleeting memories of Sprite in thick green speckled glass bottles, bought every Saturday afternoon out of an ancient, scary, and complicated light blue Pepsi vending machine that made it's home in the front office of my Tap Dancing School.
It creaked and squeaked and held our bottles hostage until we gave it a good grab, or literally stuck our arms up and through the machine's sharp edged innards (and before the days of lawsuits,) but damn if that retro machine didn't keep soda ice cold!
I have vivid recollections of going to the corner store by myself (with my parents or siblings watching from the front porch) and buying Funn Dipp, Pixie Sticks, or Charms Sweet & Sour lollipops, and feeling very much like a grownup. 
I couldn't have been more than six.
I remember my neighbors Mr. & Mrs. Kerber gave me and the other neighborhood kids a giant size Hershey Bar every Halloween.
After my diagnoses, Charms sweet and sours, Pixie Sticks, and Funn Dipp weren’t options and Bazooka Bubble Gum was replaced with packs of Carefree and Trident.
Tab became my soda dujour.
Ice cream for dessert was replaced by diet chocolate pudding (which made for a lovely lipstick) diet J-E-L-L-O, and on special occasions, rainbow sherbet, which wasn’t that bad.
Christmas time meant I could bake cookies, but I couldn’t necessarily eat them. 
Still, I found my way around that obstacle.
But every time my mom baked a cake, she’s let me lick the batter bowl and spoon, and that REALLY made me happy.
Let’s face it folks, “dietetic candy" was far from friendly on one’s intestines, no matter the  bright Easter colors and shapes.
So instead of candy, my Easter basket came to represent a slew of coveted books with crisp pages and spines that had yet to be cracked; new $5 bills in duplicate, and a new stuffed animal to love - and all nestled in my light green Easter basket.

Growing up at the beach meant the Ice Cream Man would ride his 3-wheeled bike with a giant ice-cream freezer in front, and ring his bell at the beach bulkhead.
My friends and I would run up past the hot sand with change in our fists and visions of Pop Rockets, Ice cream sandwiches, fudgesicles, and Chocolate/ Strawberry ice cream ├ęclairs dancing in our heads.
But I always got a cherry Popsicle or lemon water ice, because my parents thought it would do the least amount of damage.
In middle school, long bike rides didn’t just help me get from one place to another; they lowered my blood sugars after contraband peanut cups. 
Plus, I didn’t want to be home in case there were plumbing problems after I'd disposed of the evidence by flushing said contraband Reese's wrappers down the toilet.
High School offered the freedom of choosing what I wanted to eat, no matter what my mom had packed me for lunch. 
TastyKakes became my contraband of choice.
In college I experienced White Castle for the first and last time all in the same evening. 
 I still don’t get gravitational pull many feel towards that crap. YUCK.

Now things are different.
I like the options that carb-counting, checking my blood sugar, and bolusing has given my life. 
YES, Things are still complicated, annoying, on occasion frustrating, and at times a pain and the ass - but still different and more freeing, none-the-less.

I like being able to experience new things, food and otherwise.
In the mid 90’s I discovered Nutella while in Italy and have been grateful to the Italians ever since.
I've experienced great numbers and happy taste buds after both Flan & Creme Brulee.
Cupcakes are a part of my life, as is cream and sugar in my coffee.

Pasta, rice, and fresh baked bread only cross plate on occasion - Look, I never said I figured it all out yet!
But still, whenever I see SweeTarts, I think glucose tabs!

Here's the thing: Whenever I watched Charlie and The Chocolate Factory as a kid, I never wanted to win the “golden ticket,” because Wonka’s temptations were just too great and made me sad and frustrated.

Now, I seek the golden ticket out in every aspect of my life and embrace what it represents!

GO FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Jen said...

LOVE this post. I can relate to it all!
There are still candy bars and cereals I have not eaten...Frosted Flakes and Whatchamacallits...and I'm 30!
My grandparents STILL give me SUGAR FREE chocolate and sf jelly beans at Easter.
And I was always jealous of everyone on Charlie & The Chocolate Factory when I watched it growing up. I figured if I had won the golden ticket, I would've had to give it to my sister or brother. :(
Oh how times have changed. Thank you pump, CGM, and carb counting!!!

Penny said...

Oh Kelly - that vending machine brought back a flood of memories!!!! I loved your post about food and the D. I am wondering what G's relationship with food will be as she grows and looks back on this time in her life. Interesting stuff.
And I couldn't help but comment, my jaw dropped when you said your neighbors were the Kerbers. So were mine growing up. Newt and Deb Kerber. Is that freaky or what?

Jess said...

fantastic! my how things have changed! it's hard to figure out the role of food in my life. balancing the good-for-bgs food with indulging in the not so good.

at least now, i have the freedom to say, yes, i can eat that, if i really want to. doesn't mean i will, but knowing that i can makes a huge difference!

Scott Strange said...

Why, oh why, did you have to mention Tab? Ye gods, I think I just threw up a little bit...

Meri said...

My Dad drank Tab, and would VERY rarly let us take a sip!

And running to the corner country store? Lemon Heads and Alexander the Grapes were my faves...they were only 10 cents each. :)

Minnesota Nice said...

Tab and Fresca were advertised as having "one crazy calorie". I love Fresca.
Don't forget the pre-sweetened Kool Aid that tasted like it had iron filings mixed in the powder.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Mmmmm... Tab.

Did you know my wife's name is Tab? Do you think that diet sodapop from the early days put a subconscious spell on me which affected my choice in women?