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My Blog

Surpise...it's in the Cracker Jack Box!

Well, good morning to everyone.  The week is progressing and rain appears to be headed here again.  The temperature has dropped substantially....I believe today's high is expected to be 67.  An odd temperature for July.    The weather all the way around this year has been on everyone's tongues.  This certainly has been an unusual year, weather wise. 
Well, today's topic takes me back in time.  When I was a child, I remember the thrill and excitement over the purchase of a box of Cracker Jack.  As a kid, the thrill could have just been the treat of the candy coated popcorn and peanuts, but the Cracker Jack box also contained a surprise in the box as well.  I can remember so many of those little trinkets.....but the time I remember the most was when there was a chance of winning a diamond ring!  Yes, the diamond ring!  The boxes were marked special advertising the ring giveaway.  I cannot believe how many of them I opened, hoping and dreaming to be the winner.  Alas, it never can to fruition!  Even though I never won  the ring, I had gotten plenty of plastic rings and decoder rings!  I remember being excited over finding a boot charm once inside.
I started thinking about those days and then about how the taste at one point changed. 
I equated the treat with baseball...and wasn't really sure why.  When I researched it...it dawned on me...the song "Take me out to the ballgame" had lyrics that stated..."Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks" in it.  As I began to read about Cracker Jacks, I also learned that it was a Chicago company as well.  I guess as children, we don't really care that much about those sorts of things, but as an adult...I love that it's history is from here.  I love that it got it's name because when someone tasted it...said that it's a "crackerjack"  Meaning it's taste was excellent. 
It was also interesting to learn that it changed the company's name from   Rueckheim Bros. & Eckstein to The Cracker Jack Company in 1922 after the song "Take Me Out to The Ballgame" was written in 1908. 
Them there is the history of the little sailor boy and his dog on the front of the box.  Sometimes we just don't think there is any significance of these types of things...but as it turned out, the little boy was a nephew who passed away at the age of eight. The sailor boy image acquired such meaning for the founder of Cracker Jack that he had it carved on his tombstone, which can still be seen in St. Henry's Cemetery in Chicago.  I suppose that another trip to a cemetery is in my near future.  When I shared this with my husband this morning...the first thing he asked was if that was in my day's agenda.  LOL...I am too predictable sometimes....I told him that first I had to locate the cemetery.   As for  Sailor Jack's dog, it was a jack russell  stray dog that the family had adopted.  A very close and personal story seems to have been on the packaging of Cracker Jack. 
The company eventually was sold to Borden.  Remember Borden?  I suppose that will be another day's blog!  Then it turned hands over to  Pepsi in 1997.  That is a bit of a funny...since originally, there was a bidding war between Borden and Lay in the beginning and Frito Lay belongs now to PepsiCo. 
sold popcorn at 113 Fourth Avenue, now known as Federal Street, in Chicago beginning in 1871.  It is said that it was served at the Chicago World Exposition, but there is no true documentation on this. 
This is a product that officially was boxed with prizes in 1912.  That it a long time for a product to still sit on our shelves.  I often wonder whether kids today are as excited over getting a box of Cracker Jacks as we once were?  I know that since those days, other products came out because of it...other products were used to replace it, but the public demanded the original.  Sometimes...nothing replaces the original...no matter how hard one might try.  Well, you don't have to take me out to a ballgame to enjoy a box of Cracker Jacks...I might just have to stop and pick up a box at the store...just to see what kind of prize is inside! 

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