A Writer’s Rambling: Neapolitan Regression

Last updated on July 12, 2011 by Liza Hawkins

This week, you’ll get to enjoy guest posts from some of my blogger friends – the theme? Summertime childhood food memories. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Jacqueline Wilson is a published author and founder and editor of–a site dedicated to celebrating and connecting parents 35 and up. She also blogs daily on her observational parenting humor site, Ramblings on Parenting Imperfectly. Jacqueline escaped the corporate world and now spends her day juggling between being a work-at-home mom and a stay-at-home mom. She apologizes for any organic juice spilled on the business documents you receive.
I didn’t travel in an airplane until I was 16 years old. At that time, my friend’s grandma flew us to Chicago to look for prom dresses so that ours wouldn’t be anything like anyone else in our small Indiana high school.

But that’s a post for another time.

No, there were no plane trips for my family when I was growing up. To this day, my mom has never traveled on a plane and has no plans to ever do so. (I know. Who can believe?) Instead, my childhood vacations were filled with my brother and I kicking each other across the vast expanse of a bench seat in the back of our station wagon—no seat belts, no air conditioning and no iPods to drown out crackling bluegrass tuned into an AM station.

For our trips, my mom would pack food and hand it to us from the front seat as my dad dead-headed it to wherever we were going—generally a destination unknown to my brother and me. We would crunch on potato chips and eat smooshed sandwiches of bologna and cheese, crossing our legs and not daring to say that we had to pee until our eyes watered.

When my dad finally took pity on us (read: the car needed gas), we would scramble out of the car and into the gas station bathroom, all the while silently praying that there wasn’t a line. It was after those bathroom breaks that my mom would feel sorry for us and allow us a “treat” from the gas station.

On one particular hot and sticky trip—when I was probably 6 or 7—I pointed to the ice cream cooler, an oasis sitting in the corner of that dingy gas station, ice cream decals peeling and fading under flickering fluorescent bulbs. Sliding the window across that white cooler, I was blasted with cold air and carefully extracted what seemed like gold–a small cup of Neapolitan ice cream. It was exactly what I needed to battle the humidity.

“Are you sure you want that?” my mom asked with concern. “You just ate lunch. It might not be the best thing for your stomach on a hot car ride.”

No, this was what I wanted. I was sure of it.

Back in the car, I excitedly peeled off the round cardboard lid and licked frozen bits of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate stuck to the top. (This was the best part, in my humble opinion). I carefully pulled the tongue-depressor- like wooden “spoon” from the plastic attached to the container. And then I dug in, careful not to get splinters from that little spoon thing. And I ate, and I ate…and I ate every bit of that little Neapolitan ice cream cup until it was gone.

Then, the puddle of dairy that pooled in the pit of my stomach mixed with the heat. And, I felt sick. I silently debated the worst wrath—asking my dad to stop again or puking in his…oops too late.

I barfed everywhere, including my little white one piece jumper that are so back in style these days.

I don’t remember what happened after that except for one thing: I really don’t like ice cream to this day. If I do eat ice cream it’s only hand-scooped pink bubblegum dotted with tiny frozen squares of bubble gum so hard that your teeth feel like they or going to break, or vanilla soft serve with sprinkles. Lots of them. That’s right, the same flavors, say, a 7 year old would choose.

I never ate Neapolitan ice cream again.

Read more from Jackie here

Hi, I'm Liza — a self-proclaimed word-nerd who loves getting lost in whimsical stories and epic movies. I have laid-back, practical attitude towards life and am always on the hunt for good eats, easy recipes, binge-worthy shows, relaxing road trip destinations, the perfect fizzy gin cocktail, and time to finish my novel!

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