Friday, November 16, 2012

Hostess was the Mostest!

By Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer

The sun was shining brightly on Friday morning as I woke, ready to face the coming day. As is my daily custom, I opened my computer to check for any possible news story that I might need to look into.

And, just like that, my day was ruined — possibly my entire life. One of the first things that I saw was a headline proclaiming that Hostess brands was going out of business.

What? No more HoHo's? No more Hostess Cupcakes? No more Wonder Bread? How will any of us survive?

Life can be so cruel. Okay, I survived when M*A*S*H went off the air. But, we have reruns that make life without Hawkeye, Radar and Klinger bearable.

Some of my favorite stores have closed their doors over the years, and I guess that I have managed to survive. BK Photo and Gallery, in Troy, leads the way in my mind. It was not only my place of employment (and enjoyment) for many years, I was also a customer long before I began working there.

I grew up shopping at Uhlman's and J.C. Penny in downtown Troy. I should probably say that I grew up tagging along with my mom as she shopped at those stores. (I recall standing in downtown Troy with my dad as we watched the Uhlman's store burn to the ground.)

Most of us can recall the Woolworth store at the "old" Piqua East Mall. I spent many hours there and at Mr. Wiggs across the road on East Ash Street. I never had to worry about going hungry because the venerable Ponderosa Steakhouse was directly in between those stores.

I sit here, writing this column and attempting to recall other favorite foods or products that are now just memories. The problem seems to be that I cannot recall any of them. That makes me wonder if old age is affecting my memory, potentially caused by overdosing on HoHo's, or possibly those material things were just not of enough importance for me to keep their memory stored in my head.

I am admittedly a junk food connoisseur. Okay ... a junk food junkie. There is no doubt in my mind that I will forever miss products bearing the Hostess name.

There was nothing better than opening my lunch box when I was in school — yes, a good old-fashioned metal lunch box, with Roy Rogers, James Bond 007, or Gunsmoke theme — and finding a Hostess HoHo, packed by my mom, for dessert. That made taking time out to eat before recess worthwhile.

Some of you are probably thinking by now about all the new trends toward only eating healthy foods at school. Back in "the day," our parents still cooked meals at home and eating what is today know as "junk" food was a treat, not the norm. Oh, and we also spent hours and hours outdoors playing nearly every day. We did not sit in front of a television. There were no computers or video games. We burned more calories than we took in, although, instead of calling it exercise or working out, we just called it baseball, basketball, fishing, biking ... well, you get the picture.

I'm not sure how I will ever explain to some of my younger grandchildren the pure joy of unwrapping and eating a Hostess HoHo or Cupcake. But, as with everything else, life will go on.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to rush to a grocery and buy what could be my last box of Hostess goodies.

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