When I was a kid, my dad traveled for his job. I could be misremembering that but I seem to recall him being gone for somewhat extended periods of time. When he returned home, he would sometimes have “surprises” for us; usually it was Archway oatmeal cookies and the most current (?) Archie comics digest. At that time, Archway actually had 12 oatmeal cookies in a package and they were pretty big – like 3 inches across… I think. The reason I mention that is I recently bought some and was depressingly disappointed that the package contained 8 not-so-big cookies. I ate them but felt resentful while digesting them. At any rate, given that there were 10 people living in the house during at least part of my youth, the cookies were a pleasant concept but not much of a belly filler; one for each kid, two for each parent. Not complaining but it’s hard to make food last and even harder to succeed at gluttony with those kinds of numbers.
I’m not much for magazines these days, but I remember being very keen on getting the Archie comic book as soon as possible – at least some of my 7 siblings were also interested so it could take a while to gets hands on it. Bizarrely, I always felt sort of sophisticated reading the comic books – like Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Jughead, Moose, Midge, Mrs. Grundy, Mr. Lodge and Mr. Weatherbee could really help me in forming my social persona. At some point I realized that Betty and Veronica were the same person with different colored hair, different facial expressions and different word bubbles sprouting from their heads. This did not dampen my enthusiasm for the “stories”.
One particular issue had a very involved story line (which I may also be misremembering) which had aliens coming to Riverdale, a not so savory businessman and some very clever (to my 10-year-old brain) dialogue comprised in large part of made up words (“blorg” and “blechfrumple” stick out in my head – “blorg” meant mustard in alienese. No clue what “blechfrumple” meant but I have enjoyed allowing it to take up space in my brain). Additionally, the plot line of the story included some criminal enterprise by the unsavory businessman that was described as a “ploy by Sludge” – that line in still used by some of the “little girls” in the family at odd times – although any time one would use that line would probably be odd.
Obviously I was very affected by the gifts my father bestowed on us.
(note: when I spell checked this post, the spell checker suggested dismembering for “misremembering” – it may be on to something.)