Grape Nuts Cereal – “Relieves Mental Dullness”

7 Jan

Grape Nuts Cereal – “Relieves Mental Dullness”

 I read through Elsie’s letters and journals to decide what was interesting enough to include in a book.  I pondered on including her frequent references to what she was eating. Elsie often mentioned Grape Nuts as the cereal she ordered from Sears Catalog or the McStay Grocery catalog.  I discovered in my research that in 1910 Grape Nuts was advertized as “relieving mental dullness.” One ad from 1906 for Grape Nuts says, “If you could have a look in the dining rooms of Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell and other Universities, you would discover Grape Nuts and Cream on many of the tables. No food on earth so surely rebuilds brain and nerve centers.  There’s a reason for GRAPE NUTS.” The ad shows a bulging bicep and it reads, “Builds Strength.”

I never thought of Elsie as a body-builder type. But I doubt if many Harvard or Yale students were as well read as she was. So perhaps Grape Nuts did build rebuild brain and nerve centers! Her mental alertness was certainly there for all the years I knew her, of her nearly 100 years.

I often give credit to the SEES chocolates she loved for her mental alertness.

Now that I am a grandmother myself I often think of the lessons I learned from Elsie. One I have been pondering on lately has to do with the value of repetition.  Kids love repetition. I never knew Elsie to ever bake me a single cookie on my frequent visits to her house. But she never failed to offer me Hawaiian Punch from a heavy Amber colored Carnival Glass pitcher and store bought cookies.  When we divided up Elsie’s remaining treasures after her death I chose the heavy carnival glass pitcher.  When I see it I am reminded of so many pleasant afternoons curled at her feet listening to her relate her stories to me while I drank Hawaiian Punch and ate store bought cookies.  I cherish the memory of her relating to me her history.  When I speak to ladies groups I often challenge them to write their memories down to have for generations that follow.  But now that I think about it, maybe what I should be saying is, “Forget about creating elaborate holiday dinners and time-consuming endeavors, but sit with your grandchild at your feet and tell them your memories.”

I wonder if they still sell bottles of Hawaiian punch syrup ? I know I still like Grape Nuts. Thanks Elsie for all your stories and the way your life was uncluttered with long to-do lists. It was filled with time for wonderful true stories and love and occasional Hawaiian Punch and Grape Nuts.

3 Responses to “Grape Nuts Cereal – “Relieves Mental Dullness””

  1. Renee January 9, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    I love this post. I think it is interesting she wrote a lot about what she ate. It sounds like in later life she had eased up on eating healthy! I’m a Grape Nuts fan myself. Ha.

  2. Bonnie Phelps February 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Barb, you have only begun. You inherited your grandmother’s writing talents for sure. Your writing style is delightfully refreshing. Looking forward to reading of Elsie’s adventures on Palomar Mountain! Bring on those Grap Nuts, Girlfriend!

    • Barb Waite February 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

      Oh my, thanks Bonnie. I do hope to begin about the mountain years soon.

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