Squeezit Drinks

Everything about the "Squeezit" drink looks and sounds wrong these days, but there was a time in the 1990s when "Squeezit" literally just meant a sugary juice drink. They exist more or less as a fact of life now, but they were brand new back in the 90s, and that meant rather demented 90s advertising. Let's say it was a hot summer day. You'd rip off the wing-nut-shaped cap, suck out the little dab of juice that would always end up trapped in the cap, and the basic idea was you could squeeze the main contents out of the plastic container into your mouth. It was the drink that did the work for you, and to most 90s kids, that's all we really wanted. Because you know, "work."

Now if that sounds rather lame, that's because it was, but if you were a kid out there enjoying the perils of the backyard Slip-n-Slide, one of these could really hit the spot. The commercials on the other hand had these colorful and stylized animated Squeezit bottles getting suspiciously worked over by the kids and not having a good time in the process (or perhaps so, if you prefer it that way). I don't have to tell you what's wrong with this picture now, but I swear it didn't look like it at the time!



I remember the bottles actually had the faces on them too. 

Popsicles and Ice Pops

The northeast is in a sweltering heatwave, and that means I'm thinking popsicles, and all things cold and sweet. When it comes to summertime refreshment, three frozen staples come to mind fast, the first being the Fla-vor-Ice popsicle sticks. They came with that infamous "saw blade" serated edge that was damn near impossible to rip off even with your teeth, especially without hacking a lip or mascerating the end, and especially without at least having a little bit of air at the end to work with. (You know what I'm talking about.) Despite being hard to open, they still taste amazing. The red and the light blue were the best, and yes so was the pink one, even if it was socially unacceptable for me to get a pink one. They always came in those big sheets with like a hundred in the box, so if it took you some time to get one finished, the others would be nicely melted. I always enjoyed letting them melt right down to a liquid before sucking them down until all that was left were the little streams running up the sides. (Once again, I know you know what I'm talking about. I can't be the only one to see these things!)

The second frozen summer treat of the typical 90s childhood usually came in a fishnet bag. The were like popsicle links, with two tubular juice pops connected in the middle. Whenever they were passing these out at the daycare, I always wanted to be lucky enough to be given a whole stick, but often they had to be broken in half down the middle and split between us. If that was the case, they came in two genders. One had a rounded bottom with a smaller opening at the top, and the other had a lipped bottom with a larger opening. They didn't taste as fruity as the Fla-Vor-Ice pops, but the grape and the green apple ones were probably the best. Either way, I could down a million of them on a hot afternoon, and still can, and I will never forget the distinctive sound these made when you had to snap them in half. It was like breaking a bone: *thh-pop!*

The double-stick popsicle was probably the most frequent of my refreshment retreats all those summers of yore, and only because they were cheap at the local 7-Eleven. But despite being my most frequent treat, these actually annoyed me. Even a single stick popsicle is better than one of these, and that's what's annoying about it because you'd think doubling it should make it twice as good, but it doesn't. First of all, there's no way to really hold the thing. The sticks are too close together to hold both, but the whole thing is just too heavy to support it on one stick, so you end up uncomfortably groping your fingers longwise aorund two sticks! Secondly, they were always a million times too cold and rock solid to discern any flavor out of them after you broke a chunk off with your teeth and endured that instant brain freeze they'd implant. Lastly, there was no way you could evenly break one in half. It was like breaking a wishbone. They'd always crack off at the top, causing one side to be tiny and the other side to be this odd L shape. Now maybe it's just because I've had a million of them, but there's just too many things wrong with this whole concept to really win me. Besides, they came in like three flavors and none of them were all that sweet.

Going Native at "Indian Head"

Every summer growing up, our parents used to take us up to a popular spot in Franconia Notch NH called "Indian Head" just a few miles down the road from what (sadly) used to be "the old man of the mountain" natural monument. For anyone who doesn't know from your New Hampshire state quarters, "the old man of the mountain" or "profile rock" was a cliff side off of Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains that from a certain angle looked like a face. Sadly this New Hampshire icon fell down a few years back, but there's another profile rock worth checking out if you're ever in that "neck of the woods" (literally) called "Indian Head"-- a mountain cliff that looks like an "Indian's head." We used to stay at the Indian Head Resort up there, and while there's enough about that to warrant its own post (in time), I'm going to focus this one on something no less amazing to me, albeit far, far less grand. I'm talking about cheap paper hats, plastic bows, and rubber drum sets.

Flamingo feathers??
The Indian Head Resort had its own gift shop (just like everything does) where they sold various Native American-related gifts, toys, shotglasses and the like, and believe it or not, perusing this little overstocked alcove was the height of any four day stay in the White Mountains for me. The reason? Namely, cheap paper Native American headdresses, plastic bows, and rubber drums sets. These were a MUST have. There was no question about it. The headdresses were just a red paper front with an "eh, close enough..." Native American pastiche design on it tied around the back with an elastic string which always broke out of its staple 20 minutes after wearing it, and poised atop would be five or six colored feathers. I could put this thing on and feel like I was the "Brave Chief" for the day (as it said on the hat)... or at least for 20 minutes.

My parents usually passed on the drum kits and archery sets because they were expensive (and eBay doesn't lie), and you have to consider that getting one of anything always meant getting two of anything (because close-in-age brothers always want what the other one has!). But I do remember getting the bow and arrow and the drum kit at least once, and I even have photographic evidence of this fact. The archery set came with a couple of "suction cup" arrows that would get lost 10 minutes after they were torn from the package, a flimsy bow with a string that wouldn't send them any decent distance anyway, and a fake plastic knife that probably found its way under the car seat for the rest of the trip. The drum kit was one of those mock "hide drum" cans with some rubber stretched over both ends to make it look more "Indian" I guess. It wasn't loud enough to annoy my parents but was damn cool enough to keep us entertained in the backseat of the car as we jotted down the Kancamagus.

And I say that in all respect, because I don't for a second think any of these things communicate any significance about actual Native American history or culture, which I was genuinely interested in as a kid, but to the 8YO me, these little trinkets were just the coolest toys I could imagine having in a place called "Indian Head" up in the scenic splendor of the White Mountains. I may have once or twice walked all of "the Flume" with my feathery gear intact. If you don't know what that is, you're just going to have to check it out for yourself... or wait until I tell the tale.

90s Nick Ads II

In the spirit of the kid who might spend a gorgeous summer day like this one watching TV, let's watch commercials...



I swear these videos should be museum pieces. Here's my 8YO-Me play by play...

(0:20) Don't blink! That orange guy is rad.
(1:00) Yes. Spunky is brainless.... "Hey you! Get out of my salmon bushes!!" 
(3:00) Ewww...
(4:00) "Coming up next, it's Mr. Wizard, followed by Flipper" ...  wow...
(4:20) Party like it's 1995 already!
(4:29) My earliest memory of Nickelodeon was those colorful "traffic light" things on the bumpers.
(4:40) DZ was better than Chucky Cheese.
(5:20) Oh man... now I wish I had a Super Nintendo. Agro Cragg! Rocko!
(6:20) Mom I need tylenol now...
(7:23) "Please don't let it be the pink one... Please don't let it be the pink one..."
(7:50) I NEED THIS! (Never subscribed.)
(9:10) Every day is a Nick Day.
(9:38) "I hope I get slimed next year!"
(10:15) Oh no you didn't...