Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Swords & sandwich flags of the 1970s

I saw this ridiculous reminder of the 1970s on eBay and it spurred a nostalgic and fun conversation with Wendyvee of RoadsideWonders.

Nevco's Sandwich Flags are just that — little flags to place on sandwiches at gatherings so that people will know what's what. Because otherwise how would the people of that era have known the difference between a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and a turkey sandwich?

These Nevco flags allow sandwiches to be marked as turkey, shrimp, ham, olive & egg, sausage, jelly, bologna, salmon, cheese or bacon, lettuce & tomato.

Think how many picnics and baby showers were saved by these flags!

Imagine your Aunt Ethel buying these at the A&P!

Wendyvee said, "My paternal grandmother would have been over the moon with these." Her grandmother also deployed both those toothpicks with the colorful plastic at the end (I learned they're called "frill picks") and those little plastic swords around the house. "Not on special occasions or anything ... just with a regular lunch or nighttime snack," Wendyvee added. "When I was little, I thought that this meant they were rich."

I have two recollections regarding the little plastic swords. First, I'd stash them away, thinking I could use them with my Star Wars figures. Turn Han Solo into a pirate or something.

Second, we got them when the family went to the Wagon Wheel in Montoursville, Pennsylvania. As I wrote in a 2018 post: "Our family went there often when we were living on Willow Street. Sometimes we'd have dinner there. I would get a Howdy Doody to drink and Adriane would get a Shirley Temple; they were both the same thing — 7 Up with grenadine, I believe. What I remember most are the arcade games and the jukebox. After we ate, Mom and Dad would hang out with friends at the bar and give my sister and I a supply of quarters for the small game room."

The Howdy Doody/Shirley Temple would come with a maraschino cherry pierced through by a plastic sword. 

On this topic, Wendyvee said, "I remember being on vacation at the shore when I was little. Even though I liked Shirley Temples better, I used to ask for a Roy Rogers just so that my drink wasn't the same as my sister's drink."

Wait, I asked, are these alcohol-free "cocktails" for kids different? First, I turned to Wikipedia. 

Roy Rogers: Cola, grenadine and a maraschino cherry. It's the boys' version of a Shirley Temple. It's possible that Rogers himself didn't drink alcohol, and so this was his drink of choice at business meetings.

Shirley Temple: Ginger ale or lemon-lime soda with grenadine and a maraschino cherry. Alternately called a Kiddie Cocktail.

I'm not, however, finding any references online to Howdy Doody being used as a Kiddie Cocktail name. Did anyone else get this in the 1960s, 1970s or early 1980s? Maybe it was only a regional thing, but I can't be the only one who ordered this as a kid. If so, at least it's recorded here for posterity. Let the historians of obscure history rejoice. Stick a Nevco flag that says "WEIRD" in this post.

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