There was one thing I could always count on when I was a child, and that was finding yellow, sugar-crusted marshmallow peeps in my Easter basket. Those little confections were as much a harbinger of spring as seeing the first robin or daffodil. Of course, they looked differently fifty years ago; back then they looked like newly hatched chicks.
Peeps have mutated since then. First they changed color, then shape and flavor. Now you can find them on the red carpet featured in contests and the national news. It’s the American Way. I bought some last week for the egg hunt I give to my grandchildren on Easter. They were shaped like Hello Kitty rather than chickies or bunnies, and I think they were knock-offs—not the real Peeps. I don’t buy the originals anymore because they remind me of zombies: half-made baby chickens conjoined at birth, lined up row after row, staring out at me with crooked eyes and vacant expressions. I have a vivid imagination.
I will, however, buy a box of heart-shaped peeps after Valentine’s Day or pumpkins at Halloween, slice the cellophane open and let them sit on my kitchen counter for a couple of months until they are thoroughly stale. Then I mail them to my sister. That’s how she likes to eat them, aged like a glass of fine wine with subtle notes of nostalgia.