Last Friday I had the opportunity to visit Jack’s classroom and read to the class a childhood book of my choice. I selected ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It’s a classic, and one of my favorites. If you haven’t read it, go out and buy it. It’s brilliant.
It’s slightly outdated though. References that applied to my childhood do not make sense to this generation. One particular stumbling block was the page on which Alexander’s brothers found prizes in their breakfast cereal boxes but Alexander did not.
The children in my son’s class stared at me with blank expression. They did not understand. These kids, my son included, had simply never found a prize in the their cereal box. They were amazed when I told them about it. They were saddened that this doesn’t happen anymore. As a consolation, I told them that ‘Cracker Jacks’ still offer prizes. Again, blank stares. These children had never tried Cracker Jacks! I told them to look out for the Cracker
Jack boxes at their grocery store…
Fast forward to Sunday. We were at the grocery store. I told Jack he could pick out a breakfast cereal. He chose Apple Jacks. He’s never had them before, but I didn’t question the choice. When we got home, he rushed to open the box and then burst into tears! He thought there would be a prize. I realized through his tears that he saw the word ‘Jacks’ and though that Apple Jacks were Cracker Jacks. He didn’t care about this cereal. He wanted to get a prize.
I ushered him back to the car and we turned around and went back to the store in search for Cracker Jacks. Would you believe our grocery store doesn’t carry them?! They couldn’t even recommend a place to find them. They suggested a large gas station…
So we went on a pilgrimage, Jack and I. In search of Cracker Jacks. Two stores later, we sat in a 7-Eleven parking lot eating Cracker Jacks from a bag shaped like potato crisps. They don’t even put them in boxes anymore! And the prize was crap. But Jack was a good sport, thrilled there was a prize at all.
And he has discovered that he loves Apple Jacks! So it all worked out. But it makes me realize that times have certainly changed. My childhood of Oscar Meyer whistles and cereal box prizes just doesn’t exist anymore. Even in Australia.