Popsicle stands

7 May 2009

My father comments, via email, in regards to this:

Did I ever tell you this? Pre-school my lunches consisted of either a peanut butter & jelly sandwich or a peanut butter & mayonnaise sandwich. I liked both and would switch for variety. Figured other kids did the same. Got to kindergarten and found out that most other kids did indeed eat peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. But peanut butter & mayonnaise? No one else did that nor did they want to! That was a surprise. Yesterday I read “Oodles” (your March 13 blog) […] In it you mention “Let’s blow this popsicle stand.” When I was a teen we picked up tongue-in-cheek what we thought was a 1950s colloquialism; “Let’s blow this pop stand”. In family talk your mom and I took to saying “Let’s blow this popsicle stand.” I don’t remember hearing anyone outside of our family say it that way. Interestingly a Google search suggests that “Let’s blow this popsicle stand” is just as common as “Let’s blow this pop stand”. And the usages may go back to the 1920s. So perhaps “Oodles” was not a peanut butter and mayonnaise faux pas after all.

My father’s forgotten that his parents also introduced the grandchildren to the strange, piquant world of the peanut butter & mayonnaise sandwich – we were fed them while we were small as a matter of course. I associate it as much with that white house on Lake Macatawa as I do Vernors ginger ale.

I like the phrase “in family talk,” though right now I lack the words to describe how or why without just restating it.

I went back & followed the google search, and found the same paragraph cut-pasted into a lot of different question pages (many more than I expected – I had no  either that this went beyond our family) dating it to post-1924, citing the year that the San Francisco Chronicle coined the term “Popsicle,” and suggesting it’s just an update of “blow this joint,” with the most common joint being a soda fountain or pop stand.

But the cites are pretty slim on the ground, and it doesn’t explain why my dad would have thought it a pretty 50’s thing to say, or why Midwestern teenagers in the late 60’s were using outdated expressions in high irony – although I suspect that it has something to do with the whole American Graffiti-hoop skirts counterrevolution that followed.

I’ve decided that when I get home I’m doing an ultra-pijo renovation of the pb&m sandwich, with homemade mayonnaise, real peanut butter, raisin bread from the farmer’s market, maybe some kind of garnish or additional condiment. Suggestions for variations are welcome. Pictures promised.

One Response to “Popsicle stands”

  1. Littlest Sister Says:

    It’s peanut butter and Miracle Whip, not mayonnaise… I hope that sandwich of yours turns out okay. Uh oh. Now I’m craving one.

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