I’ve always been proud of the fact that all my siblings are good writers and sister Jane recently had a book printed of her writings. I would like to share one of the stories from her book.


Have you ever watched people chew gum? You have your smackers, clickers, your fast chewers, slow chewers and some who open their mouth wide with every chew. I’ve seen this one clerk at Walmart chew her gum moving her jaws from side to side, making me think of the term “Like a donkey eating saw briars.” I read one time the difference in a girl chewing gum and a cow chewing her cud was the intelligent look on the cow’s face. By the way I have seen people, usually girls, chew gum I would have to agree about the cow.


One thing I cannot stand is a person who clicks or pops their gum with every chew. The constant clicking as they chew drives me up a wall. Also, something else I cannot stand is people who try to talk while mouthing their gum around in their mouth.


I guess most everyone likes to chew gum. Not only for the taste but seems it can somehow calm one’s nerves. When we were kids we got gum so seldom that we’d chew tar if we could find it. Jim Bert and I somehow knew not to chew creosote that was oozing out of railroad ties but, according to Jim, we would pick tar out of the highway cracks, brushing off the top sandy layer. Tar chewing wasn’t the best substitute for gum as it stuck to your teeth. I asked Jim Bert after we were grown if he, or we, ever chewed sweet gum from trees. He told me that he hadn’t but had chewed slippery elm and more he chewed it the slippery it got.


When we were kids it was quite a treat to get a piece of gum and after we had chewed it awhile we “saved” it. As a little girl I remember each of us having a certain place where we stuck our gum, under a shelf behind the cook stove. I’ve even stuck it on the bedpost to save until morning. We probably unknowingly chewed each other’s gum that had been chewed. Saving my chewed gum was a hard habit to break and a practice I kept until I was grown. I guess what made me stop was when my brother, Jim, was visiting us after I was married. He went to get a glass out of the cabinet and noticed my chewed gum stuck on something and he said, ‘Jane, I’ll buy you a PACKAGE of gum.” So, I decided it was time to quit saving my chewed gum!


Drucilla remembers a time when Mama sent off some labels from something and received some Beechnut gum for them. It was a great day for her to get the package out of the mailbox. (This was before MY time.)


One time in Sunday School two girls were chewing gum. They asked each other what flavor they were chewing and decided they each preferred what the other was chewing so they swapped the gum they had been chewing. Although I liked gum I was NEVER that desperate!


I remember when I was in the 5th grade a girl was chewing gum in class, which was a no-no in those days. She was chewing Black Jack Gum, which is black, and for some reason she had stuck it on her front teeth giving her a snaggletooth look. The teacher must have seen her with her gum so she asked her to read a portion of what we were studying to the class. She had her read quite a bit and finally told her, “I was wondering how long you would be able to read with that gum stuck to your front teeth.” Then she made her go spit it out.


Remember when bubble gum was scarce? Once, when staying with my grandparents at Dyer for a while, and being a NEW girl in town, I was met after school by some boys standing just outside the store. The store had gotten a supply of bubble gum that day and sold out in a hurry. The boys had all bought some bubble gum and they wanted to share it with me.


There were all kinds of bubble gum. Some was so tough after it had been chewed it wound up making your jaws tired. Some was so sticky that when you blew a bubble you ended up with gum all over your face. But, oh, what fun we had trying to see who could blow the biggest bubble.


When I was still in grade school Jim Bert and I had to walk home after school. While waiting for him to come over from High School I would meander on down the road a little way. Imagine my surprise and joy one day when I found a BOX of Doublemint gum lying beside the road. Where it came from I haven’t a clue but I found it and it was MINE…all 20 packages. I slept with the box of gum under my pillow for I didn’t trust my brothers. I would sometime wake up during the night, remember the box of gum under my pillow,and get a piece to chew. I was probably back to sleep before the gum had been chewed very long. In fact I would wake up with gum in my hair a few times. Sometimes brother Pat could talk me in to sharing some gum with him before he went out on a date.


As a teenager I worked at Kresses for a little while and was instructed the first thing there would be NO gum chewing. That rule must not apply to checkers of today for I’ve even seen some blow bubbles while waiting on a customer. I’ve seen them chew fast like their life depended on it. Whatever way they chewed it was distasteful.


I’ve always liked to chew gum but thanks to my having TMJ I don’t chew it much anymore. Also, J.M. could never stand my chewing it or even having it in my mouth. It seemed at times that if I could chew a piece of Doublemint after eating highly spiced food that it kept me from having heart burn. I wrote the Wriggley’s Chewing Gum Company one time and mentioned how chewing their Doublemint Gum after eating highly spiced food, it seemed to help my digestion. Guess what? A few years later they came out with an anti-acid chewing gum. Do you suppose I gave them the idea?


A few years ago, after chewing some bubble gum I got to feeling poetic and wrote the following poem:


CHEWING GUM


Yesterday I thought I’d have some fun, I bought myself some bubble gum. I chewed until my heart content, I thought my money was well spent. I popped and smacked and then I blew, A bubble so thin I could see through, and then it popped right in my face, Gum all over me…what a disgrace! To clean it off it took some time, With a little soap I removed the grime. I decided then no more to blow, bubbles big so I could show, That I had not lost my ability, Nor showing signs of senility, So, again, I’ll be much more content to chew my Wriggley’s Doublemint!