Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Vermont Country Store Catalog

The Vermont Country Store catalog arrived in my mailbox last week. I have never ordered from this catalog but may change that after my third browse through its delights. This catalog provides a trip through memory lane and reinforces my, um, maturity.

The candies were the first selections to catch my eye. It wasn’t exotic, expensive chocolates that gave me pause but the candies that were popular when I was a kid. We didn’t have Nerds or ring suckers or pop rocks. As the Vermont Country Store reminds me, we had Neccos, pastel colored mint wafers, Brach’s jelly nougats and Fizzies! Remember Fizzies? It was the candy version of Alka Seltzer. My parents did not purchase soda very often so Kool-Aid was the standard flavored drink. Fizzies were a fun alternative to Koolaide since my brothers and I could plop one tablet in the water, watch it fizz, and drink it down. I tried Fizzies as an adult and some things are best left to memories….Fizzies just aren’t that great, but my fond memory of them is intact. Another food item I had forgotten was Bosco. Bosco could be equated to Nestle’s chocolate syrup but Bosco had a cute bear as its advertising mascot; the name is more fun to say than Nestle!

A pink princess phone is available in the catalog. In the '60s here was no caller id, no touch tone dialing, no cordless wandering, but, oh, this style was revolutionary at the time. Black wall phones or black table phones were the standard plus phones were more utilitarian in purpose and appearance. Not only did the princess phone come in pretty colors and a new shape but it has a feminine name. I had a blue princess phone in my room and when I watch “The ‘70’s Show” I can see one used by the character Jackie.

Ah, my mind really began to trip down memory lane when I came to the perfume section. Smell is supposed to be a strong memory marker, and in this case just the name of the perfumes brought back the high school years. Ambush perfume was one of the two I used when in high school. It was my “second” favorite perfume with Heaven Scent being my favorite. (The most popular girl in school always wore Heaven Scent and that is one reason it was my favorite) Alas, Vermont Country Store does not carry Heaven Scent and if it did I would buy it – not to wear but just to have.
Ambush was a perfume I liked but Blue Waltz, Evening in Paris, and Tigress are also sold in this catalog and while I have memories of them, never wore them. Blue Waltz was the cheapest perfume one could buy from the Ben Franklin Dime Store and as teens we made much fun of it. Evening in Paris garnered the same disdain as Blue Waltz and several of us bought it once as a joke birthday gift for a friend. It is fun to see these in the catalog.

The last item that caused reflection wasn’t something that was actually for sale during “the day” but the theme was very famous. Vermont Country Store sells “Dick and Jane” flannel sheets. Anyone who learned to read during the 50’s and 60’s learned with the “Dick and Jane” primers. “See Jane!” “See, Dick!” “See Spot run!” I would bet it is baby boomers buying these sheets and sleeping on them!

If I were going to make one purchase from the Vermont Country catalog it would be the princess phone. While it has been updated (caller id, call waiting, touch tone dialing), it has the classic styling, original heavy weight, and would be great in a guest room. It also has no calories, won’t make me smell bad, and it is a great reminder of my youth.

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