Why are children obsessed with gum? This is purely anecdotal evidence, but as a kid I was always chewing gum, and pretty much every child around me was the same way. I’m not exaggerating; unless I was eating something, I was chewing gum, and sometimes I even tried to do both at the same time. Did you know chocolate makes gum dissolve? I found that out personally, and it is profoundly gross.
I even did that thing where I would “save” my gum overnight, usually by sticking it against the wall since I didn’t have a fancy headboard like every kid who does this in the movies. Why? Couldn’t I just get a fresh piece in the morning? You were weird, child me.
One of my fondest gum memories is Freshen-Up. It came in four flavors – Bubble Gum, Spearmint, Peppermint, and Cinnamon – and when you bit into them, a gel-like/liquid center with the same (but more intense) flavor would squirt into your mouth, which is much more fun than I make it sound.
I loved cinnamon Freshen-Up until I found an even more fun version of this concept – soda-flavored squirty gum! My fondest memory is of the A&W Root Beer variety; when you chomped down on it, what amounted to a melted root beer barrel was squirted into your mouth in the most delightful way. I also remember there being a Dr. Pepper variety, and the Internet tells me there were also 7-Up, Cherry 7-Up, RC Cola and even Slush Puppy (?!) flavors.
I never knew it had a brand name, but apparently the manufacturer was Amurol, the folks who brought you Big League Chew, Bubble Tape, and possibly every other novelty gum you’ve ever seen.
I thought Freshen-Up was long gone, but apparently it’s been available on Amazon as late as 2015. I have no idea how long the soda varieties lasted, but they have a distinct 80s feel to them.
I’d love to have the opportunity to bite into a liquid-center soda gum again, but I doubt I would take up the habit. Much like the flavor of the gum stuck to my wall, my desire for gum has all but faded away.