Sweet Nostalgia

August 29, 2007 at 12:11 am Leave a comment

I ran out of my favourite facial cleanser last week and paid a visit to South African Essentials in Joondalup to buy a new supply. It’s odd how the things one has used for a long time – in this case I’d been using Elizabeth Anne Baby Shampoo since my children were babies – remain the best. While there I was thrilled to see a bag of sweets labeled “Black Balls”. When I was a kid we called them by the very non-pc name of “Niggerballs”. I just had to buy them and see if they were the same; and they are. The first, strong aniseed flavour of the black coating never quite goes away but subsequent layers of different colours and different flavours make sucking these sweets a delightfully different experience. I took half a bag to work the following day and it was fun to watch my colleagues, all middle-aged, getting excited about the different flavours and colours, taking them out of their mouths to see what colour had been reached and sucking like mad to get to the next one. Just the same as I and my friends did when we were kids.

On another tack, what in South Africa are called sweets, are called lollies in Australia, candy in the USA and sweeties in the UK. How can we purport to speak the same language when basic childhood pleasures are known by such different names?

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Entry filed under: childhood, language, nostalgia.

Grammar and Citation Change of Job

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