March 31st National Crayon Day

Crayons have been with us in a sense since the 17th century, though the originals were not made out of wax and had very limited colors to choose from. The first were made from a mixture of of charcoal and oil, it wasn’t until 1902 they started being made of wax. Over 3 billion crayons are made every year, Crayola having made over 237 billion since it first began. They keep a running count of 120 colors while generally retiring 50 colors a year. and this is the day they retire the old and add the new. Crayola helps keep life colorful!

How to celebrate – Visit one of the Crayola stores. See if you can figure out what colors are due to be retired. Plan a fun day of coloring with the family.

September 30th Chewing Gum Day

People have been chewing gum for over 5,000 years. Not gum as we know it today, but gum nonetheless. In 2007 the British found traces of gum (tree bark)  in Kierikki, Yli-Li, Finland. They found teeth marks in the bark indicating it had been chewed.

Over the years, it has been used to stave off hunger, curb nicotine cravings, and to freshen breath. It has been made from bark, plants, grass, and other resins, most probably not tasting all that good. It wasn’t until 1848 when John B. Curtis started giving it some flavor, or so far as we know. He was also the first to sell it commercially.

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It was called “The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum”. As many gums of the time, it came from the sap of trees. It must have been okay because he sold a great deal of it.

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In 1850 an upgrade came to gum, being made out of paraffin wax. Sort of like the stuff you find in those little mock soda bottles. The gum didn’t last all that long but it was better tasting as the wax could easily be mixed with different flavorings.

On Dec. 18th, 1869 Willliam Semple filed for a patent on his gum (#98,304).

Obviously gum has changed a lot since then. Wrigley, Dentine, Juicy Fruit… It has been found to improve memory, reduce stress, and increase alertness. The newer sugar free versions also improve oral hygiene, curb cravings, and improve digestion.

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Besides that, if we didn’t have gum,  what would baseball players chew? How could you blow bubbles? And the 1950’s might never have been! People rarely turn down a piece of gum if it’s offered to them. There are so many positives that maybe the only negative is…

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How to celebrate – Get a piece of your favorite gum and give it a chew. Take enough with you and share with your friends or co-workers. Try some flavors of gum you have never had. You may not like them but all you have to do is spit it out! Preferrably in a garbage can.