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    Saturday, September 29, 2012

    By Lisa Harmon

    My brother and I were just babies when the 70’s were getting underway.  I was three, he was a newborn.  We were raised in a time when “parent” was a noun – not a verb, like it is now.

    As two kids being raised in the 70’s, there was a lot of television and junk food involved.  Both my brother and I had incredible sweet-tooths, gulping and chomping down as much sugar as we possibly could.  I was a chocoholic.  My brother preferred sugary candies, like gummy worms and sweet-tarts.  He would go so far as to eat actual sugar cubes, or tear open the sugar packets at the diner and swallow the contents.

    In elementary school, sometimes my Grandmother would give me a dollar for lunch.  A slice and a soda were seventy-five cents, so that left a quarter to buy a candy bar.  Back then we had only a few candy bars (compared to now).  My favorite was called $100,000 Bar (now known as a Hundred Grand Bar in its current, less tasty configuration).  There were also Hershey Bars, Snickers Bars, Charleston Chews, oh and those delicious Ice Cubes – melty little chunks of chocolate that were unlike anything else!  As Dana Carvey’s old man character might say, “That’s the way it was, and we liked it!”

    My brother and I chomped our way through cereal and Saturday morning cartoons.  We ate cookies, cakes, ice cream and candy.  Lots and lots of candy.

    And then, in 1978, the greatest thing that ever happened, happened.  It was announced that a new candy bar was coming out.  We were beside ourselves!  The candy bar gods had decided that we were finally ready for a new configuration of chocolate, caramel, and peanuts.  This was HUGE.

    You must understand, times were different!  First of all, new candies NEVER came out!  It never even occurred to us that there could be new candies!  I don’t think it occurred to anybody till the guy that had the idea for this one.  That’s how huge this was!  There were no new candy bars!  Also, back then, candy bars didn’t come in varieties!  A Snickers bar was a Snickers bar and that was it!  Now there’s Snickers, Snickers Dark, Snickers Caramel, Snickers Peanut Butter, Snickers Almond.  Back in 1978 we had like four candy bars all together!

    Well of course we lost our minds!  We ran down to Phil’s Hot Corner to buy the new Reggie Bar – named after some guy from the Yankees named Reggie Jackson.  It was a big hit with us, and apparently with everyone.  It was a hugely successful candy bar launch.

    It was around this time that the seeds of the Emergency Candy Release Program were planted.

    After that, more candy bars started to come out.  Every time I saw something new, I had to get two of them.  One for me and one for my brother.  He did the same.  We tried Hershey’s Cookies & Cream, Whatchamacallit, Toffifay, Skor and more recently Pretzel and Coconut M&Ms, just to name a few.  It went on this way for years.  Finally, when the group had grown to include his girlfriend and my boyfriend, my brother named it The Emergency Candy Release Program.

    Now, so many new candies come out all the time it is no longer exciting, and the sheer volume of new candy makes the Emergency Candy Release Program untenable.

    But I’ll never forget, and neither will my brother, or probably anybody that was a kid in 1978, the greatest event of all time – the introduction of the Reggie Bar!

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