The other day, I impulse-bought a package of Tootsie Pops. I freely admit it: they were for me. I stashed them somewhere my preschooler couldn’t see them (and if I’d been smart, I would have hidden them from my husband, too). Don’t act like you haven’t done it.
One night, after Nora’s bedtime, I unwrapped a Tootsie Pop and found myself carefully flattening the wrapper and examining it for a star, a childhood habit that apparently never died. Back then, I didn’t much care how many licks it took to get to the chocolatey center of a Tootsie Pop*, etc., etc. — I just wanted to see that Indian with a bow and arrow shooting at a star.
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Because … um … I don’t know. I think I had vaguely heard that you got some sort of prize for a wrapper with a star, so every time I got one, I’d carefully flatten it and add it to a tidy stack that I squirreled away in the garage. I never redeemed them (because I didn’t know where to do so), and I never definitively heard what, if anything, the supposed prize was.
Now that I’m a grownup who has to take the mystery out of everything and has access to the Internet in order to do so, I’ve learned that there was no prize, but there was a very prevalent rumor of one. Apparently I wasn’t the only kid of my generation keeping my wrappers, not by a long shot.
But, even knowing what I now know, I still look for that star, all these years later. And I’m still going to let out a little squeal when I get one. Sure, I’m a grown up, but I’ve got an inner child in there somewhere. Maybe one day I’ll teach Nora to look for the star on her Tootsie Pop wrapper. But first I’m going to have to talk myself into sharing my candy stash with her.
* Apparently, there IS a prize for licking your way to the center of a Tootsie Pop. If you consider a downloadable certificate a prize …