Goddess mug shot

The Goddess Speaks

Genevieve A. Suzuki

Treats stir fond
memories of childhood

The day after Halloween, I took the traditional inventory of candies I received from friends who took pity on a girl too old and tall to travel house-to-house begging for treats.

Then, pow! It hit me. Where was my Pow! gum? And where were my Sixlets?

When I was a kid, I divided my loot into three piles after Halloween: favorites, stuff my mom would eat and stuff I let the cat bat around.

Pow gum and Sixlets were always in the "favorite" pile. Sixlets were the small red, yellow and brown candy-coated chocolate balls in a long clear package. I don't think Mars was producing tiny-sized M&M bags then, and if they were, the Sixlets had most of my attention.

I remember using Hoover-like suction to pull each Sixlet into my mouth straight from the thin plastic packaging.

And Pow gum -- whoo, boy, a terrific and yet horrible experience rolled tightly into a red, white and blue wrapper.

The chunk of pink gum was dry and hard at first, but once you started chewing, it started to soften up. The sickening sweet flavor, the unnatural way it stuck to your teeth -- there was nothing better than Pow gum.

Maybe we're too old for those candies anyway, said my husband, Derek.

Too old for Pow gum? Too old for Sixlets?

OK, SO OUR dentists would reel from the gum's effects on our molars and sure, it may be a little less than hygienic to suck on a plastic wrapper, but too old?

In less than a week, I celebrate my 27th birthday.

When Derek asked me what gift I wanted, I was stumped.

"I know! How about fixing our garbage disposal?!"

Wait a minute. Did that come out of my mouth?

When I was a kid, my birthday was all about me. My parents were forced to endure hours of me running and screaming around a 6-foot glaring Chuck E. Cheese, Castle Park rides and the dreaded Genevieve-chosen cake.

When I turned 7, my parents asked me what picture I wanted on my cake. A pretty pink princess, they suggested. Or maybe cute little teddy bears?

No way. I wanted E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Nevermind that everyone balked at having to take a bite of the friendly alien. Never mind it was a revolting fleshy color. I wanted him and I got him.

Twenty years later, I find myself wondering whether Derek would also enjoy my birthday dinner. "You pick," I finally told him when he asked where we should go.

So when did it all change? Where are the Sixlets packages and Pow gum? And why don't I want E.T. on my cake anymore?

It's too easy to say I've grown up. It can't be that simple.

Well, whatever the case, I think this year I'll dedicate my birthday to nostalgia: Anyone know a good place for E.T. birthday cake?

The Goddess Speaks is a column by and about
women, our strengths, weaknesses, quirks and
quandaries. If you have something to say, write it
and send it to "The Goddess Speaks," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail

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