I really never thought much of this candy, but when I went to summer arts camp, my roommate named ______ [no idea] was obsessed with them and had a gigantic pickle jar full of good and plenties on the shelf over her bed, like an enormous container of Tylenol. At age 16, I was there for poetry, the creative writing segment of camp, and she was there for musical theater. Blond, better with boys, she had about two boyfriends that summer, one of whom was named Walter, from her program, who was a boy with a quasi mullet, but more likely, you’d describe his hair as a sensitive-musician-hair style (long, to the shoulders some layers). The boyfriend was from home, and I believe gave her the giant candy gift when she left. Anyway, Walter REALLY liked her but waited the full eight weeks for her to break up with her hometown boyfriend so that he could present her with a song he named for her called ______ [I truly can’t remember her name], gave her a single red rose, and a container of Good and Plenty. He performed the song at the end-of-camp talent show, and I remember him trembling while performing, and she ran to hug him at the end, and I presume, accepted his offer to be her new boyfriend.
At the time, they were living the epitome of romance and it seemed the whole red rose experience would be forever elusive, as I was relegated to a world of mixed signals and teenagers who seemed far more advanced than I was that summer. It’s funny how your perception of romance changes over time. When you’re a teen, it seems so much about the boy, or the girl. As an adult, particularly as a parent, I see romance as so much a result of what kind of relationship you had with your parents — whether it was good and you want to replicate that warmth and security, or it was bad-news-bears, and you seek to heal what you didn’t get. Anyway, now I eat Good and Plenties and think back on that girl. I didn’t know her well so who knows if she felt what it looked like to the rest of us — perfect.
May the Red Rose be with you.