View Issues‎ > ‎2017 Issues‎ > ‎1710 October 2017‎ > ‎

171009 October 9, 2017


Free Inside This Box
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

I got my box of cereal out of the pantry today and noticed, printed upon it, the phrase which brought joy to my heart when I was a kid. There on the front of the box was printed the words “Free inside.” Oh the enjoyment those words once gave me. My heart sunk when I discovered it was not a toy, but instead a sample bag of some healthy Craisins. What a letdown. Who can play with a Craisin?

    My thoughts immediately went back to the days of my youth when I ate cereal which I have to avoid today because they are no longer considered healthy for me. I ate all the sugar enhanced cereals primarily not because of their taste, but rather because my selection was influenced by what free toy was inside the colourful boxes often embellished with the likeness of popular cartoon characters. Of course the Saturday morning cartoons and other kids' programming included a wealth of commercials to inform me what new toy was being offered for my breakfast enjoyment.

    I remember the days when a trip to Kroger or A&P required a mandatory trip down the cereal aisle to see what new toys were inside the boxes and often included a long time period of going up and down the aisle to insure I did not miss anything. Since I was often sent to the store to buy the family groceries, I had a lot of leeway on my selection.  I was not happy when it turned out the best “Free Inside” offer was in a box of Cheerios, basically because I did not like them. They were healthy even back then and were not sugar coated, but sometimes the free item demanded some sacrifice to the taste buds.

    Some will think it odd that even today I can still remember some of my favorite toys in cereal, even back in the 1950s. Thanks to the information available to us today, I was even able to find pictures of two of them.

     The first one I found were the three baking-powder powered frogmen offered by Kellogg's Corn Flakes – another non-sugar coated cereal endured because of them.

    The set of three included a frogman with a knife and one with a cutting torch. The third one had a limpet mine which took me a long time to figure out since back then we did not have the power of the internet. You would pop off a little metal cap in the bottom foot of the frogman and fill it with baking powder. You put it in water and the baking power would produce air bubbles which made the frogman rise to the top of the water, tilt and expel the bubble and then sink back down to the bottom of the container in which it was placed. They also offered a submarine designed on the same concept. These toys also taught me a lesson in life, basically baking soda and baking powder are not interchangeable; knowledge which became important later in life when I took up baking.

        My second favorite toy was probably influenced by growing up as a kid in “The Rocket City.” It was a small missile with a spring launcher included in Cheerios. You could put the missile in the launcher and press a lever and it would shoot "unguided" across the room. These became a prime toy when I launched an attack on my toy soldiers.

    As implied, because we grew up in the city where we learned of missiles at an early age, these were educational as well as fun.  My father worked on several of these as a draftsman at the arsenal. There were four different types of missiles available and of course we all needed to “collect the whole set” back then. They were the Redstone, the Nike, the Corporal, and the Honest John. (Later in my life I would become too-well acquainted with the Russian answer to the Nike, which was the SA-2 used widely in Vietnam.) Since the only way to find out which one was in the box you purchased was to open it up, there were times of disappointment when you discovered the duplicate in the box and not the one needed to complete your set. And yes, we all remember the toy was always at the bottom of the box, when meant we either had to burrow down to it or pour the cereal out into a big bowl to reveal the prize.

    In searching for info for this story, I found the toys were more often slanted toward the males than the females, and made me wonder why the gender gap was so strong back then. But the popular things were items like cars, military toys, police items and things like that, and less often anything a female would enjoy.

    So, what toys do you remember from your childhood days that were “Free Inside” breakfast cereal boxes? Surely you can remember at least one. 

        Memphis, TN -  October is here and I still went to a ballgame this weekend wearing a short sleeve shirt. I now the fall weather will hit us soon, but for now our weather concerns are still focused on hurricanes. I know several classmates live in the impacted zones, but no one has yet sent me anything to share with their classmates.

    I did see on Facebook where Barbara Seeley Cooper had a tree issue in her neighborhood, but I don't know the whole story. 

    How about some of you who were impacted by the recent hurricanes send us a little info to share with the entire group?



From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Old Spice

Collins (CE) Wynn

LHS '64

    I recall noticing a less than complimentary comment about my chosen male enhancement product (hygiene) in the last few issues.  And, yes, I tried all of the trendy products of our youth in an attempt to be more than I was.  Stronger was better was the premise I operated under so I may have been the one you smelled coming down the hallways at Lee High.  I always wondered why my dates gagged so much!


    The other day I noticed the Old Spice folks retain full confidence in their product after all this time.  As proof I offer the statement appearing on the reverse of their deodorant product (dare I say men's deodorant?).  Tried and true, works every time!

Subject:    7-Up
John Drummond
LHS '65

    I was unaware that 7 Up originally contained lithium, even though my major was chemistry.  As a further bit of educational trivia, learned in pharmacology at UAB School of Medicine, lithium was the first really effective psychiatric medication to be FDA-approved, in 1970, for the treatment of manic-depressive illness (now called bipolar disorder).  Since then, many more effective medications to teat the frustrating, tenacious (for both patients and their doctors) mental illness of bipolar disorder have been introduced, but lithium was the first.    

Thursday, October 26, 2017
11:00 a.m.


GALEN’S RESTAURANT (Formerly Mullin’s)
607 Jackson Way
Huntsville, AL 35801

    As we approach the eighth year for Lee Lunch Bunch (’64,’65,’66), it seems to be a good time for us to try a new location. We have all enjoyed these last seven years meeting at Logan’s Restaurant, and they have been very nice and accommodating. Perhaps we may go back there at some point, but for now, we are going to meet and hopefully enjoy a favorite old hangout for many of us.  I hope that you will save the date for Thursday, October 26, 2017, and let’s all meet at Galen’s.

    Galen’s has owned and operated a successful restaurant in the New Hope area for several years.  In June they opened a second location in Huntsville in the former Mullin’s location.  They are open for breakfast and lunch (until 2:00 PM) for now, but they do have plans to stay open for dinner in the near future.  Galen’s features a traditional meat and vegetable plate lunch with many side items to choose from.  They also have other 

    items on their extensive menu such as burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc.  Also, deserts!  There will certainly be something on the menu that will appeal to everyone.  Google Galen’s Restaurant and take a peek at their pictures and their menu.

    We must let Galen’s know by the day before how many plan to be there so they can arrange tables and have enough chairs ready.  Please contact either Judy Fedrowich Kincaid or me by that date if you plan to join us.   Hoping to see many of you there.

Thanks a Bunch!

Patsy Hughes Oldroyd, Class of ‘65
home (256)232-7583
cell (256)431-3396 or on FACEBOOK for 
either of us
Judy Fedrowich Kincaid, Class of ‘66
cell (256)656-3667



Join the Mailing List to Receive Notification When New Issue is Available 


 Email Me