A dear family friend has just turned 50 this year.
He is still young and so very popular. For a fact, I know he has no knee problems, nor has he ever thought of Botox. His bubbling, good-natured routine has kept him young at heart. He was into pink long before it was considered cool or manly. From the very start, he made sure he was as neat as a pin. If he took a bath at your home, you can bet there was no bathtub ring!
Yes, Mr. Bubble our dear large pink bubble outlined in white with expressive bubble eyes is 50!
Charles Repnow is a freelance writer who lives in Rugby. His columns appear every other Wednesday in The Minot Daily News.
Here in North Dakota we take extra pride in Mr. Bubble as we consider him one of our own. Mr. Bubble was invented by North Dakota's imaginative Harold Schafer and the esteemed Gold Seal Company in 1961. When Mr. Bubble celebrated his silver anniversary in 1986, he was sold to Artwick Industries, which was soon purchased by Reckitt and Coleman. Many of you may recall that the first Mr. Bubble came in powder form, and Mr. Bubble was pictured on the pink box himself with a youngster enjoying a bubble bath. Today Mr. Bubble is owned by The Village Company, LLC. Over the years, the packaging for Mr. Bubble has gone from cardboard box when it was a powder to a bright pink, plastic bottle in the fun shape of a pile of bubbles. The new liquid form has been reformulated to create even more bubbles with a gentler clean.
My parents, but especially my mother, were not easily persuaded by commercials for such embellishments as bubble bath. It was only after a period of extreme begging plus being extra helpful around the home front that she finally consented to purchasing a box of Mr. Bubble.
You may think that bubble baths are only for girls and ladies well guess again. My brother Kelly and I also enjoyed bubble baths whenever we could. We could think of hundreds of images that the bubbles were forming and creating. We let our imaginations be bright and free, taking us from clouds to popcorn balls. Bright red and yellow plastic sailboats rode cascades of iridescent bubble waves to the wonderlands of our imaginations as we sat in the family tan Kohler bathtub.
The world is a very happy place when a child can be sitting in a mountain of gorgeous mosaic bubbles, and between adventures, sing a few of the great Mr. Bubble jingles: "Mr. Bubble will get you so clean your mother won't know you" or "He will bubble you clean and never leave a bathtub ring." It was, however, the long and tumbling beards that we fashioned on ourselves that had us roaring with laughter. It was a time of innocence which only helped to blend our bonds as brothers and wed our souls to a lifetime of water interests.
Commercials for Mr. Bubble were clever, and they always showed kids having fun with bubbles. It is interesting to note that on the 50th anniversary of Mr. Bubble, many adults today still enjoy this king of bubbles. After a long soak you can bet they probably slide a few fishsticks in the oven as they settle in to watch reruns of "Gunsmoke" and the "Wild Wild West." Now if this is not living, I certainly don't know what is!
Happy Birthday Mr. Bubble! You have made this world a better place, and your fluid and fabulous ways have delighted children. You exude energy and joy in adults when they let you soak away the wrinkles of a weary day. You cannot take a bubble bath and not be in a warm and fuzzy frame of mind. Maybe it should be mandatory that all grouches of this world must take a bubble bath? Who would ever think that a bright pink bottle featuring a happy bubble could give you a lifestyle upgrade in as little as 30 minutes.
Just the other evening, Lydia was deep in bubbles and giggles in the tub and we walked in to check on her. I asked her what she thought of Mr. Bubble and she smiled and said, "Well, Dad if he were a real person, he would be my lifetime friend!" That made me smile and it also made me think of the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson who once said, "The only way to have a friend is to be one."
Mr. Bubble definitely is that; let us not forget he also cleans up after himself no bathtub ring! What a fine, effervescent friend.
I share with you a recipe that was given to me several years ago by Alice Hersey of Rugby. She had made them for our coffee hour at First Lutheran Church. Since that introduction, they have been a favorite in our home. They are easy to make, they taste delicious, and they also sport a good dose of oatmeal. When the cake texture of these bars is combined with this appealing frosting, is it immensely tempting and extremely satisfying! You can bet Miss Lydia is not the only one who enjoys one of these bars after a bubble bath.
Oatmeal Bars with Caramel Frosting
1-1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
Pour over oatmeal and set aside.
Cream the following:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
Mix in order given, adding oatmeal mixture last:
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pour into a jelly roll pan which has been greased and floured. Bake at 325 F for 25 to 30 minutes.
1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix and boil for 2 minutes; cool slightly, beat and spread on bars.