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Sharing Mana‘o

Along with everyone else who grew up in Hawaii, I was stunned and saddened by the news of Love’s Bakery’s impending closure. I even felt a little guilty for having cut down my gluten consumption over the past few years.

I’m also a bit embarrassed that my first thought wasn’t of the 250 or so employees who will lose their jobs, or the many kupuna who have never made sandwiches or cinnamon toast with any other brand of bread. The selfish gasp inside my head went something like, “Oh, no! Now I’ll NEVER know the second verse of the old Love’s jingle!”

Around four years ago, I devoted a column to vintage local commercial jingles: Exchange Orangeade, Wigwam Stores, Longs Drugs . . . I could sing all of them in entirety, except for the late 1960s ditty that heralded the new see-through packaging of Love’s bread. The rollout campaign included a statewide contest in which children collected wrappers to win prizes for their schools.

The jingle was sung to the tune of “Hilo March” and started with:

Love’s soft-rolled bread,

It’s just as fresh as it can be,

As the showcase wrapper

Plainly lets you see . . .

I’m pretty sure the words “delicious and nutritious” were part of the next stanza. The column concluded with a plea for kamaaina to fill in the blanks, but I received no responses. My friends and family think I must have dreamed it all up.

I was beginning to wonder, myself, so I turned to the internet last night and searched “Love’s Bakery history” and “vintage Hawaii commercials.” You can imagine how deep that rabbit hole plunged.

On YouTube I found old friends like Lex Brodie, Harry and Myra, and Didi Ah Yo (“and away we go!”). Even little Kalani was there, inviting folks to “Come and be my neighbor at Ponderosa Pines.” For those who weren’t here in the late 1970s, the airwaves were saturated with this commercial for a ranch community “in the big sky country of Montana, near Yellowstone Park.” The local sales office touted 10-acre lots for as low as $5,500. Today, according to realtor.com, there are 69 homes for sale in the area, at a median listing price of $425,000. The 2010 census reported a population of 336.

A 10-minute video titled “Scenes from 1976” featured commercials that ran during a Cecilio and Kapono TV special, including C&K themselves, lounging on lawn chairs in a lush rainforest, singing the praises of Rainier Beer. I don’t recall seeing the commercial back then, but I do remember the jingle:

From Pacific Northwest mountains to the shores of Waikiki,

Light, refreshing Rainier Beer has the taste for you and me.

Cold and clear, mountain-fresh Rainier . . .

Of course, as a Maui girl, a different beverage comes to mind when I hear the words “mountain fresh.” Back in the day, Haleakala Dairy milk cartons were emblazoned with that catchphrase, and its radio commercials always included the musical tag:

Mountain freshness counts, naturally,

So Haleakala is for me.

Although mountain-fresh milk is long gone, you can still find Haleakala Dairy milk caps online, along with POG pogs. And despite the demise of those tiny Exchange Orangeade cans, the jingle lives on, not just on YouTube, but in the hearts and minds (and tum-tum-tums) of most kamaaina.

Surely, within The Maui News readership, there’s someone besides me who saw that “showcase wrapper” commercial. While you lament the loss of one of Hawaii’s historic institutions, perhaps your longing for a Donette will jog your memory. Maybe if, while you savor your last loaf of Love’s, you hum the “Hilo March” melody, that elusive last verse will magically appear.

I’m going to give it a try, gluten be damned.

* Kathy Collins is a radio personality (The Buzz 107.5 FM), storyteller, actress, emcee and freelance writer whose “Sharing Mana’o” column appears every other Wednesday. Her email address is kcmaui913@gmail.com.

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