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After Ding Dongs what's next?
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by Ron Cruger
rcruger@san.rr.com
        In a few days Hostess Bakery will be no more. Hostess will say goodbye to 18,500 of their employees. The suits will take lonely walks through the production floor, up through the offices, checking to make sure that all the file cabinets and desk drawers have been emptied. Then the long line of managers, vice-presidents, department heads and disgruntled employees will head for the front door where an assemblage of reporters and television cameras will focus on them and the Hostess sign above the building. Interviews will be held. Reporters will take notes.     
        All machinery will be turned off. Utilities will be shut down and the building locked. The thousands of former employees will walk away, turning back to the old building one last time to say goodbye, re-living their sweet memories of the good old bakery days.
All that will be left will be memories of the years of producing Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread.
Founded in 1930 Hostess also produced Dolly Madison, Drake's and Natural Pride Snacks. Hostess products were produced at 33 plants around the country.
        And now, Hostess is no more - bankrupt, bye-bye, bubkes.
        There were generations of us who longed for a couple of Ding Dongs after school. Or of having a couple of Twinkies after eating our baloney sandwiches at school lunch time. That was before we learned of the horrors of swallowing sugar and white flour.
        Even after we learned of the physiological horrors of eating Wonder Bread I always favored sandwiches made with the bleached white flour bread with a dash of that mysterious additive riboflavin. I enjoyed the lack of taste of Wonder Bread in a sandwich as it permitted me to taste what resided between its layers. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich would taste better on Wonder Bread than on some wholesome, healthy nine-grain bread with a unique taste of its own. Good health is one thing, but the immediate satisfaction of downing some peanut butter and grape jelly unencumbered by the taste of nine-grains of wheat was supreme.
        I remember the look on the faces of my grammar school friends when I finished my Wonder Bread, baloney and mustard sandwich, reached into my grease- stained brown lunch bag and pulled out an attractive, tempting package of Twinkies.
        I practically swooned as I bit down on the first of the two Twinkies in the package. My school mates drowned in jealousy as I swallowed the delicious, soft as a cloud bites of the Twinkies. Soft and sweet, creamy and sugary. Back then nobody cried out how close to death I would come just by virtue of eating two Twinkies.
        And so Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread go the way of old radio programs, ducktail haircuts, twenty-dollar sneakers, newspapers and stay-at-home moms.
         I hope the health-nuts keep their eyes off my pizza.