When I was little, spotting a gumball machine at the store, at the gas station, or even at my dad’s work was an amazing experience. It was like a pirate finding a treasure chest filled with gold. In this case, it was nothing more than little colorful balls of chewy sugar, but it had the same effect on a kid. The only thing that stood between you and your treasure, however, was a single coin. When I was really young, the barrier was simple a single penny, however, this quickly changed into a nickel. Though admittedly, like anything they sell that I used to put in my mouth, gumballs were much smaller then. Truthfully, the gum wasn’t amazing, it was simply the process of actually being handed a coin and then being able to purchase something for myself. I loved feeling like I was an adult for just a brief moment and handle the transaction by myself. Now, I just spend days wishing I could be a kid again, so everything has come full circle.

Most of the gum in these machines were simply good for chewing. By that I mean, they lacked the necessary construction to blow a really good bubble. But bubble gum was really fun and cool so any gum I jammed in my mouth would have to succumb to my attempts to turn it into a bubble. Even creating a tiny bubble counted as a success, but when the gum was truly engineered for the act, it was awesome. I remember having contests with my friends to see who could blow the largest bubble. The “winner” would end up being the one whose bubble would explode all over her face, making it look like she was melting. It wasn’t pretty. But it was incredibly fun. I can still feel the incredible suspense as I’d begin to blow the bubble and it slowing started to increase in size. I remember willing it to stay intact and continue enlarging until I was blinded by a giant pink ball. Then, sensing it had reached its limit, the suspense in waiting to see when it would pop and suffocate me. Good times.

These days, gum has become sugar-free to save our teeth from exploding and moved well beyond the lowly gumball. So I rarely have it anymore. I think, in the end, I never really liked the taste. I just adored the experience of purchasing it in a gumball machine and using it to amaze my friends with my bubble-blowing prowess. It was more about the experience and like so many things, without anyone to play the game with you, it just isn’t the same anymore. While my dentist is pleased that I’ve moved on to other forms of entertainment part of me still longs for the days of blowing bubbles. Thanks to a rather healthy imagination, though, I can still enjoy the experience in my mind. And even make an attempt to make one appear on a page of my sketchbook. Nothing more than a dream now. But a wonderful dream, taking a moment to imagine a world of gumball machines.

Join us for the January Doodlewash Adventure: Childhood Memories,
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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Indian Yellow, Perylene Maroon, Opera Rose, Phthalocyanine Blue, Phthalo. Green Light, and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.
 Day 25 - Ford Gumball Machine Chewing Gum Bubble Gum Vintage
Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

21 replies on “Gumball Machines

  1. That looks so attractive to little me! And I love the treasure chest analogy – it’s absolutely accurate; I used to get so excited for seeing these, even though I was never much of a gum fan. (I could never blow those darn bubbles!) Perhaps it was all those colours, or maybe I just liked spending my mother’s money. 😉 There were quite big ones in the local shopping centre which had the fun little spiral that the ‘chosen one’ would travel down before being dispensed. That was probably the highlight of the whole experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have to be around the same age as all your posts bring back my childhood memories!!! I was born in 1955…how about you? Also LOVE your Gumball machine! Got a penny?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Eilene! 😃💕 Hehe… actually I was born at the start of the 70’s but the penny machines were still all over the place. It was too much of a pain to change them to the nickel ones I think. hehe… And my brother and sister were born in the late 50’s so they influenced a lot of my tastes.

      Like

  3. Truly a great childhood memory, little street side attractions to tempt children into spending their parents money, and I loved them. I never felt that the gum in these machines was as good as the packet stuff. Hubba bubba- being the tried and tested best bubble producing gum, the sort that you could win a bubble competition with, and have a bright pink face for a few seconds, one of those moments I looked like hans solo, frozen, but pink! The mind of a child, love it 😀Bravo Charlie a great doodlewash choice.

    Liked by 1 person

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