I’m always amazed at how fast, and how far, a trigger can take me without a moment’s notice.  You don’t even know what you hang on to from childhood until it’s staring you in the face.  This morning I read that Hostess, founded in 1930, has filed for bankruptcy.  Hostess, of course is the parent company of Drakes, who makes the beloved Ring Dings which my brother and I have bittersweet childhood memories of.  There it is, I’m five years old again.

My parents had one of the messiest and meanest, divorces I know of.  Maybe because we were very small (I was five, my brother three) and impressionable it seemed so hard.  Maybe because when we were growing up we were those kids from divorced parents, which unlike today, was not commonplace back then. Either way, it’s a huge part of our past, or at least mine.

Every Sunday afternoon for four, fun-filled hours, Dad would pick us up and take us someplace ‘cool’.  Looking back, four hours isn’t a lot of time to plan a day trip, but we made the most of it by either hiking to the top of what seemed to be the largest mountain in the world, sitting on the big summit rock and eating our lunches, or playing with all the animals at the base of the mountain that were housed there for one reason or another next to the playground.

Mom would make sure we were bathed, dressed and ready and then leave the house before Dad arrived to pick us up.  He was greeted at the door by my unassuming Grandfather, who loved my Dad very much and was crushed with the split.  We were bursting with excitement and could hardly control ourselves when we finally saw him pull up in front of the house.  My Grandfather never held us back as we peeled our faces off the window and bolted to the front door to greet him; but we always knew what followed…

After a delirious, exhilarating and exhausting day filled with chatter, laughter and love, the drive home was stone quiet because there were no words for the heartbreaking end to a glorious day with Dad.  It was there in the car the sadness would set in for all of us.  A week is a lifetime to wait to see Dad when your five and three.  Mom, of course was never there when Dad brought us home.  My grandfather waited patiently to let us in the house and then promptly retreated upstairs (where he lived) to give us alone time to say goodbye to Dad.  I always loved that he respected the painful goodbye and gave us the much needed alone time with Dad.  Dad would always try to keep busy during the short stay before he left.  We would cry and he would comfort us with hot chocolate and Ring Dings.  He tried so hard to hide the tears in his eyes, but we saw it.  We felt it.  It killed him as much as it killed us to say goodbye.  I don’t think he ever knew what followed after he shut the door behind him.  My brother would fall apart, crying hysterically, sobbing for hours.  That was even more painful than my father leaving.  I would console my brother for what seemed like hours.  After an exhausting day, and an even more exhausting good-bye, my little brother would cry himself to sleep in my arms and I would put him to bed.  Then, I would cry alone at the table drinking two cups of hot chocolate and eat both Ring Dings.  My heart broke for my brother and after checking to make sure he was asleep, I would go to bed before my mom got home. 

I haven’t had a Ring Ding since I was a kid.  My brother and I are all grown up and my Dad has since passed away.  Any association with Ring Dings brings me right back to age five, Sunday’s with my dad and my brother.  All the old feelings come flooding back, good and bad.

If the plight of the Ring Ding should go away with the pending bankruptcy, they will forever live tucked away in a special place in my heart.