When I thought of the prompt today, my mind leapt to that famous campaign for M&Ms where they advertised that it “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” One of the commercials in the 80’s depicted a bartender on a hot beach who grabs a handful of the candy and holds it while mixing drinks. Ice cubes fly magically through the air as he prepares the cocktails, but the real magic comes at the end when upon opening the palm of his hand, the M&Ms are perfectly intact. It was a ridiculous scene, but very memorable. I did switch for a time in the early 80’s to Reese’s Pieces, of course, because those were the kind that E.T. favored. Apparently, Spielberg wanted M&Ms, but the company unfortunately declined, so kids everywhere made Hershey’s very happy that year. I’ve no idea why all of this came to mind instead of a simple chocolate bar, but that’s just how my mind works sometimes.
I also remember that people had their favorite colors, even though they all tasted exactly the same. Red M&Ms disappeared for over a decade, replaced with orange, as the dye was thought to cause cancer. The year after E.T. was released, the red ones triumphantly returned, but it wasn’t until the mid-90’s that the blue ones arrived to replace the odd tan color that nobody claimed to prefer. This color was actually chosen by consumers who also had an option of pink or purple to replace the tan ones. Personally, I preferred the green ones, which have thankfully been around the whole time. It’s been years since I’ve had these, but the memories are wonderful to look back on. And even if those tan ones were a bit odd, it’s a memory that kids today will never experience. Something that only people of a certain age will ever remember and can now tell their children, “Ah yes, back in my day, the blue ones were actually tan.”
I’m not sure why, but it feels good to have these unique memories. Simple things like telephones with a cord, camera film, or maps made of paper that made it possible to actually get lost sometimes. Though, it’s admittedly nice to know exactly where you are most of the time, getting lost was actually part of the adventure on family road trips. Change is inevitable and things will continue to progress, but I’ll always have a soft spot for those things that we left behind. I often wonder what things I’m enjoying today that will no longer exist in 20 years. Will those printed books on my shelf seem like a lovely antiquated idea? It’s not entirely possible to know for certain what the future will bring. Despite the changes in color, it makes me happy to know that M&Ms still exist. That every memory hasn’t been completely replaced by something new. And so, as life continues to advance to places we never knew it might go, I’ll always have very fond memories of those days of chocolate melting in your mouth, not in your hands.
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Da Vinci Paint Co.: Da Vinci Yellow, Da Vinci Orange, Da Vinci Red, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Burnt Sienna, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!