Saturday, 22 March 2014

Growing up, I didn't have Google - I had Chappies wrappers instead

Growing up, I didn't have Google - I had Chappies wrappers instead
22 March 2014

Back in my youth, we didn’t have Google.  The concept of home PC’s had not even been imagined.  The marvels of the internet, not even invented or conjured up.

So, apart from eavesdropping on the conversation of adults, paying attention in school, listening to the news, or heaven forbid reading the boring newspaper, and scouring encyclopaedias and biographies, exactly how did the average kid increase their general knowledge?  Learn more about the world? 

Well, it was easy you see.  We ate Chappies bubble gum and we read the wrappers.

And actually this was rather clever.  It was one of those win-win situations.  Not only did you get the awesome instant rush and unique taste of Chappies, but you also got to learn some extremely random, useless, yet interesting titbit of information at the same time.

Chappies were stupidly cheap.  R1 could buy you loads and loads – keeping you chewing and blowing for ages.  Now they cost about 30c each.  Still a bargain. 

First phase of increasing you general knowledge, was having parents that bought into the whole letting-kids-chew-bubble-gum-thing.  A hard sell for many.  Alternatively, if your parents were hard core hectic about bubble gum, you had to get inventive about eating it only when you were with friends, who had liberal bubble-gum-endorsing parents.  Last option, was offering to go to the café around the corner for your folks, to get milk, bread, etc.  And taking a long lengthy walk home, blowing and chewing all the way.  Spitting out before you got to the front door.

Chappies blow awesome bubbles.  But here’s the thing – as for the flavour, it’s great, but it sure doesn’t last long.  I can’t remember if it lasted longer in my youth, or if I just chew harder now.  The original colour fading faster.  But I have to replace very often.  Hah!  Which of course means one thing and one thing only – extra wrappers!!!

As grannies go, my mom’s a real team player with the kids.  Buying them Chappies by the bag.  In all various flavours and colours.  And yes, I was pretty hard core about letting my little kids eat bubble gum, but at my mom’s house they got away with it.  It was part of the whole cool-granny deal.  The added bonus being, that I ate as much of it as the kids did.  They would have gross competitions seeing who can put the most of them in their mouth at one time and blow the biggest bubble.  Very much the same way my brother, sister and I, and our friends did when we were kids.  It’s like a constant.  A repeating pattern across generations.  And the odd resulting chewing gum stuck all over the nose, mouth and chin, from a popped bubble, sort of collateral damage.  Par for the course.  A risk that you took.

I absolutely loved those, “Did you know” inserts printed on the reverse of the colourful yellow wrappers.  They were always interesting and entertaining.  Giving me snippets of information, I would never need to recall.  Nor remember.  Yet, they somehow still made for fascinating reading.  Part of the pleasure of any bubble gum experience, being reading your “Did you know” out aloud to any willing audience.  Attempting to have just the right air of all knowing wisdom.  As if you knew the fact already.

They were always numbered.  Quoting random facts, like the first person to climb K2, the sleeping habits of sharks, the tallest building in the world, the inventor of the Morse Code, the year Beethoven wrote his famous 5th symphony.  And the numbers on the “Did you know” always ran in sequence.  I remember ambitiously cello taping metres of them together as a child.  And pegging my metres of wrappers onto clothes hangers and hanging them up in the cupboard.  Marvelling over my own little encyclopaedia I was putting together.

So no, growing up, I didn’t have Google.  I had Chappies wrappers instead.  Way less spam.  Added bonus of bubble gum added.

What’s not to love?

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The "Did you know" prints on the reverse of Chappies were awesome!

For years and years, the only Chappies available were in the yellow wrappers. The actual bubble gum being either yellow or pink. But eventually Chappies started expanding. Now you get grape, watermelon, mint, strawberry, candyfloss, etc. The originals are still my favourite.

Extreme wealth as a child, was having a Chappies roll - delicious! A much savoured treat.

Silly random facts, that in the end became so familiar

Still enjoy them to this day - my kids too


  1. Cool blog as always! Still love chappies - even at 55!! I always read the "Did you know" usually out loud to someone - and yet I never noticed particularly that they were numbered! Do you think they start at 1 every year?

  2. Too true!
    Oh my goodness, Helene! I certainly do you remember when we had wire coat hangers and tried to get all the numbers hanging in tens from washing pegs!
    Can't believe I let - and encourage - the kids with Chappies when I was sooooooo hard core about no gum as a teacher!