Hostess cupcakes and personal evolution…

This journey that we call life is a crazy ride. Several mornings ago, I was checking my email and encountered what I initially assumed was spam and almost hit delete. After all, I am blogger in Maine with a fairly limited readership…I make no bones about that. Well long story short, that email wasn’t spam and thanks to the miracles of modern technology, I had a chance to get my 5 minutes of babble on the national stage with Melissa Harris-Perry, whose work I have long admired. I must admit that considering this weekend was also a benefit concert for my day gig, and that my mind was more on surviving Saturday night and hoping and praying that the event went well; I was woefully unprepared for the response from my brief appearance on the show… So thank you all and welcome to the many new readers. Let’s get back to some mindless babble.

Last night after surviving my most successful fundraiser to date and still feeling a bit hyped up after my brief taste of the limelight, I needed to unwind. My relaxation of choice involved a Hostess cupcake and a glass of Merlot. Now I don’t typically eat Hostess cupcakes especially since my own baking skills have grown and I have the extra seventeen pounds to show for it.

However on Friday morning the man unit told me that the Hostess Company would be no more and he went out and brought back a few Hostess treats for me. See, despite the fact that I rarely feel the need to eat any Hostess product, Hostess products specifically Hostess Cupcakes are a part of my past in a way that many may see as sad but that to me is simply another piece in what makes me who I am.

Growing up with Black hippies as parents meant that I didn’t have parents who put a great deal of thought into the things most parents tend to stress over, like birthdays. Long time readers know that I have a love-hate relationship with birthdays in part because in my family, birthdays were simply another day. Your gift was you woke up and you were alive.

On my 7th birthday though, a year that I remember quite clearly, I wanted a birthday party. Of course it was too late to do anything and my folks were broke as usual. So my mother went out and brought me home a Hostess cupcake to celebrate my 7th birthday, I made hats out of old newspapers (see I was doing the 3 R’s long before they were hip…reduce, reuse, and recycle kids) and that was my big day. The next year I had a real birthday party, I am  pretty sure I guilted my folks into it and since my mother was expecting my brother who was actually due on my birthday, she figured I really did need a birthday party. Fortunately that one birthday party was good enough for me and I didn’t get another one until my 19th birthday when the first Man Unit and mother in law were horrified that I had only had one birthday party in my life.

I found myself thinking about this last night as I emailed with one of my best friends who knows my sordid history when it comes to birthdays and the significance of those cupcakes. I was also thinking about the end of the Hostess Company, a company that in many ways came to the end of its journey as taste buds have evolved. In 2012 most of us want real food, not food like products and the sad truth is a Hostess cupcake is not a cupcake. Let’s not even discuss Twinkies and with products named Ho-Ho’s and Ding Dongs, it’s no surprise their growth was stalled. Yet 18,000 folks will be impacted by the liquidation of the company and it will affect me in my corner of the world. There is a Hostess plant in the town that I work in and it’s one of the town’s largest employers as well as a supporter of the agency I run, so trust me this closing will affect me. On a personal level though it represents yet another end, one I never really thought about until last night. In some ways those cupcake like products were  a security blanket when I needed to go back to that childlike place where life was simple.  The thing is there comes a point for all of us when we must evolve, so onward and upward I go. But no matter how fabulous my baking skills get those cupcakes with the perfect topping that never smeared will always be special to me.