We All Scream for Ice Cream
Summertime: lightning bugs, fireworks, corn on the cob, Cape Cod beaches, summer road trips. So many great memories with family and friends.
One memory pops in to my mind today. It was the summer my Dad set up a cardboard Funny Face Stand in our backyard. This was a new product by Pillsbury, and my Dad brought the product home to test it out. I was eight years old.
I was assigned the job of rounding up the kids in the neighborhood. We lived in Dallas, Texas that summer and all of our houses were connected by the alley. Once we had a yard filled with kids, I participated in teaching the kids all the names of the Funny Face characters. If they could name all of the characters, my Dad would serve them a free cup of Funny Face. This had all of the elements of things that were fun. Community, a game that everyone could win, an adventure of trying something new, and food! It was also special because it was an activity with my Dad. His job required a lot of travel, and it was common for him to be out of town five days a week.
My favorite flavor was Freckle Faced Strawberry. My sister’s favorite flavor was Goofy Grape. My brother was a one year old, and just hung out in his playpen.
Something else came out of that summer that would continue to open up my view of the world. Two of the flavors were Chinese Cherry and Injun Orange. The name of the product was Funny Face, so there were corresponding funny faces to go with the names. I remember hearing about two of the flavor names changing because they were an insult, and making fun of people due to their race. Injun Orange was changed to Jolly Olly Orange and Chinese Cherry was changed to Choo-choo Cherry. Because we had memorized all the names, I was aware of the change and there was a light bulb that went on in my head about respecting differences and not making fun of people. I understood that the names were an insult to Native American Indians and people who had Chinese as part of their lineage. It was the beginning of sensitivity training about how our society would make fun of people in unkind ways, and I didn’t want to be a part of that.
In the midst of the fun, that awareness shifted my perspective in the world. I began to see the uniqueness of different races and cultures. When I had children, I organized evenings called, “ethnic food nights.” Instead of making fun of people, we cooked food, played games, sang songs, made crafts and on really special nights, we found a guest family who could tell us about their culture. It was fun to learn about special people who lived all over the world.
And, it all began that summer with the Funny Face Stand.