The One Destination Every Kid Knew: Battle Creek, Michigan
A really super cool toys was only fifty cents and a few cereal box tops away!
Now, the half-buck could be gotten by cleaning out the hog house. And the cereal box tops? Oh, that was easy. Just head with Mom to the grocery store and be sure and pick out the right kind of cereal. Of those two pictured above, the Sugar Crisp was dandy (yeah, just about any cereal with 'sugar' in the title was great)...the Raisin Bran? Well, it did have a box top that was needed.
And once the necessary moolah and tops were in hand, there was only one place to send it to.
Now at that age, I didn't know where Battle Creek was, and I didn't know where Michigan was. But what I did know was that it must have been a magic city, something like the Land of Oz maybe. That was the place where all the cool stuff lived, where all the cool stuff was piled high just waiting for my two quarters and some small pieces of cardboard with special words on them.
Off they went to this kids dreamland called 'Battle Creek, Michigan' and, oh, about six weeks later there'd be s small package in the mail with my name on it. Wow!
But usually it wasn't a big terrific loud 'Wow!'. It seems like the picture on the back of the cereal box made the item look, uh, well...a little better than the actual item. I remember saving up those two quarters, putting in the required box tops because I just had to have that Woody Woodpecker door-knocker!
When it came in the mail...it was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, it was made of some super-light plastic, had some adhesive you took off and it stuck on the door. Oh, you could push Woody's head and it would...well, not exactly 'knock' on the door. More like 'peck'.
OK, not even peck. You'd have to have Superman's super hearing to hear anything at all. But hey, it was mine. And it was from Battle Creek, Michigan!
So why did all those quarters and all those cereal box tops have to go to Battle Creek, Michigan? Why, because it turns out that Battle Creek is the 'Cereal City'! Kellogg's and Post call it home (or at least did when I was a little feller). And we, of course, didn't know the whole quarters, box tops and toy thing was a marketing plan. We didn't know what a marketing plan was, we were only expert's in toys!
Oh, and that Woody Woodpecker Door Knocker? Yeah, if I recall, that bit the dust pretty early on. But no worries, there was always some new super cool thing to get on the next box!
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