Count Chocula beckoned me into the cereal aisle while I was walking through the grocery store. “I vant to eat your cereal,” said a voice in my head, while General Mills laughed with its catch-phrase conquest. Ever since my craving, I’ve been biting into the chocolaty goodness every morning since I arrived at home from school. My family is moving and I am convinced that the spooky, chocolaty marshmallows mitigate any jolts of teary sentimentality.
Without my delicious fix, I have no doubt I would have lost all composure this morning when clearing out my room for the monstrous garage sale. To save or not to save Besty Condo? That was the gut-wrenching question. Betsy Condo is this objectively spooky red-haired doll that is a friendly mix between Mrs.Beasley and Chucky. She got her adorable face from her mother and bright, orange hair from Dad’s side. Betsy used to live at my grandparents’ condo, hence the surname. I just liked the Betsy part.
The entire garage is littered with items that have no personal monetary value, but each wears a neon dot evaluating its worth. Many are filled with memories, but to scavengers lined up outside my house (yes, there was a crowd waiting for us to open), its all just secondhand bargaining and the pursuit of stuff.
Sickened by the excess (the quantity of our stuff, as well as the shoppers’ loaded arms), I feel grounded by the morning ritual over my cereal bowl in which I savor my Count Chocula. Each spoonful evokes comfort and memories of simpler times. Certainly, the flavor, crunch, strange melting sensation of the marshmallows, and smell when I pick up the bowl to drink the last drop of chocolate infused milk are all more satisfying than staring into the blank eyes of a plastic headed doll.
While I love Betsy, she reminds me that I’m supposed to be a grown-up. The doll may seem more lasting, but the cereal continues to engage my senses and becomes a gastronomic time machine. Food memories remain interactive because we don’t outgrow flavor or texture or the need to nourish ourselves. Flavors transcend time. They move with us through our lives, instead of becoming frozen fixtures of the past.
Betsy Condo now sits in the garage with a yellow sticker on her cheek and while she waits for a new home, I read my cereal box. Perhaps I am a victim of the Count and his child-targeted advertising, but I think I just like spooning out the marshmallows from the milk before they dissolve.