Those Cups that Used to Come in Oatmeal

In this edition of Retro Rambling, I want to take you back to a small slice of nostalgia for me, and that’s back when I used to drink out of those cups that used to come in oatmeal. Maybe you remember them too.

Do you remember those plastic cups that came in boxes of oatmeal?  For years upon years, I never knew this was a thing.  Mainly because I was never around when my Mom opened the new boxes of oatmeal, and also probably because we didn’t buy the brands of oatmeal that were still doing this in the ’80s. 

But even though I was totally unaware of this being a thing, I knew all about the cups, and they were favorites of mine.  How is this possible you may be asking, but sit tight and I’ll tell you how I could be at both ends of the spectrum at the same time. 

My grandmother on my Mom’s side had a lot of grandkids.  18 of us to be exact, and more times than not, there would be at least 5 or 6 at her house at any given time.  As kids do, one would get thirsty, and so that meant all of us were thirsty because Lord forbids if one of us was getting something the others weren’t.  So off to the kitchen we would go, and we all knew which glasses were for us grandkids to use.  The plastic tumblers in shades of blue, green, yellow, pink, and clear. 

I loved those little tumblers.  The design on the sides were simply little etched blocks, with each row slightly offset from the rows above and below it.  To me, they looked like little trees.  As a matter of fact, we called them tree cups.  Maybe I started that trend among my cousins, I don’t know. 

But anyway, Granny always had a lot of these tumblers around.  Partly, I believe, because she had a lot of grandkids, and partly because my Granddad ate a lot of oatmeal.  It’s the only thing I ever recall hearing of him eating for breakfast.  Ever.  Biscuits and gravy?  Nope.  Bacon and eggs?  No sir!  Just oatmeal.  So when a man eats oatmeal 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, that means you have to buy a lot of the stuff. 

That “stuff” that my grandmother bought was Crystal Wedding Oats.  Why they’re called that I have no idea, but it’s not important at the moment.  What IS important, is that every box of this oatmeal came with one of those little tumblers packed inside…in the oatmeal.  You never knew what color you were getting, so completing some kind of set could be hard if you didn’t buy much of the stuff, but that wasn’t a problem for my Grandmother.  She could have had sets of 16 in every color if it weren’t for us kids losing them. 

So I went years without knowing where those tumblers even came from.  A few years ago, one of my cousins and I were reminiscing about old days at my grandmother’s, and I brought up those little cups, and how fondly I remembered them.  Somehow I came around to asking something like, “I wonder where she got all those?”, and he proceeded to fill me in on the oatmeal box story.  I was kind of blown away actually.  Somehow I had gone my whole life and never heard of such a thing.  Then I went on to find out that some of the dishes I had eaten off of most of my childhood probably came out of boxes of powdered dish detergent, but that’s a story for another day. 

So not long after the conversation with my cousin, I was talking to a friend and related the story to him.  He knew that those tumblers came in boxes of oatmeal too, and said that his grandmother kept them out for all of her grandkids as well.  He also said that he STILL drank out of those things when he went to her house!  I kind of forgot about our conversation after that, but when I saw him a week or so later, he brought me a couple of those very same tumblers from her house!  He had related my tale to her, and she got such a kick out of it, she gave him a couple of them to bring to me, which I now proudly display in a place of honor in my own personal retro museum. 

So that’s how I could be totally unaware, and yet totally aware of their existence at the same time.  What about you?  Did you know these were a thing? 

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