The Campbell Cookie Jar
The Tie In Between the Past and the Present

Early one morning, I wandered into my kitchen to make my pot of coffee, which will last me most of the day.  It was chilly inside as I prepared the coffee.  My back was turned to the peninsula in the middle of the kitchen when I heard a voice.  I turned, and it came from a collection of Campbell Soup memorabilia that I have acquired over the years.  They are decorations; I never use them now.  They just sit under a cabinet collecting dust.  I could pack them up and store them in the basement.  However, they are not in the way, and they are treasures that I have had for many years.  Hence, they have become cute little decorations in my kitchen.

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I went closer to my Campbell Soup collection to determine who had spoken my name.  It turned out to be the cookie jar that was in the form of a large soup can. 

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Therefore, I sat down on the kitchen stool and started my chat with the cookie jar as my coffee brewed.  Actually, there were two voices, which wanted to talk with me.  They formed the cookie jar's lid.

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The little girl with the auburn hair started, "Were you surprised that we wanted to talk with you?"  I said that I was used to having seemingly inanimate objects around my home talking to me.  Then the little boy chimed in a question, "What do you want to talk about?"

I thought for a moment.  His question seemed strange.  Normally, the other treasures that chat with me have their own agenda.  I was caught off guard.  Finally, I asked the question that I have wondered about for years.  I wanted to know their names.  Then I added, "Campbell is a Scottish name, and you both look ethnically like little Dutch children.  While that is not a big deal, I have wondered about your names.  Are they Scottish?"

The two of them giggled for a moment and finally the little boy said, "My name is Bobby...Bobby Bounce and her name is Dolly Dimple.  Does that sound more Scottish to you?"  I just laughed at his question and told him that his answer merely created another question about their origins.   

Dolly said, "The Campbell Soup Kids have been around for a century.  Originally, the Campbell Soup Company was called the Joseph Campbell Company in 1905.  However, they deleted Joseph from the company's name.  We soon became characters used in advertising.  They were not concerned about the Scottish aspect, but they did want to convey a notion of good health by using the healthy and happy children who enjoy Campbell Soup."

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I mentioned that my grandfather's name was also Joseph Campbell, and he lived just outside of Camden, NJ.  However, he was not the founder.

Dolly's retort was "If he were, you would have all the soap along with all the money that anyone ever needed."  I responded that there are things that I would do with loads of soup and money, to which she asked, "Like what?"  I went into telling her about traveling and seeing needy people both here and overseas.  Both the soup and the money could go a long way helping some less fortunate people in our world.  Then I added, "Dolly, 80% of the world is living in poverty and does so on less the $10 a day."

"Dolly and I noticed that every couple of years you would be gone for a month.  We didn't realize where you had gone."  I replied to Bobby, "I have spent a great deal of time traveling in the States and Canada, which I love.  However, I have studied overseas, lead tours, and travelled myself to places all over the world.  My last trip was to Myanmar, and it was the most transformative of all my trips."   

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Once I got started on issues like that, I went on about the flood of human refugees entering Europe.  Finally, I said, "Something must be done."

Dolly seemed up to responding to my concern.  "Why did you get into making cookies as a child?  Doesn't your society see that as a mother's job?"

I mentioned that my mother had some very serious medical issues like breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.  If I wanted any treat like sand tarts, I'd have to make them myself.  Actually, I told Dolly that I never asked permission; I just started baking when I was around twelve.

To which Bobby added, "When we began our discussion, you told us that your grandfather wasn't the founder of Campbell Soup.  Do you see that your motivation to help others especially in Myanmar and other countries that you have visited is tied to the pain that your mother's illnesses produced? 

I thought for a moment.  Initially, I did not see any correlation between my baking as a preteen and poverty in the world.  Apparently, I took too long to respond, because Dolly chimed in, "Let me help you.  Your mother was able to provide food for the family at mealtime, but that was all.  If you wanted treats, she wasn't up to dealing with things like cookies and pies.  Therefore, out of need, you entered the kitchen.

I agreed; that is what happened, but I didn't see the relationship between 60-years ago and poverty today.  Then Bobby added, "I remembered a picture of you teaching Ayanna to bake nearly 20-years ago.  Do you remember?"


I was about to agree, but Dolly interrupted and she continued.  "In the last several years you have taught Jack to bake pies."

Description: Jack rolling out the dough

Then Bobby added, "It was long after that you taught both Jack and Owen to bake cookies."


Then Bobby continued, "Baking pies and cookies are meaningful attempts on your part six decades ago to provide for your family something more.  Now, you seem to be vicariously reliving your childhood in your grandchildren.  Nonetheless, that isn't enough for you; is it?  In this house, you have pictures of several children who you met overseas about which you are concerned.  You want to help them."

I agreed but hadn't tied my childhood and my grandchildren's childhood to those that I met around the world.  Then I spoke from my heart, "I want adults and children to experience some treats in life like cookies and pies.  However, the children especially need some treats.  Problems and pain lash out at them often stunting them.  By adulthood, they give up.  Therefore, the children really concern me.   It is like what Dolly said about Campbell Soup wanting healthy and happy children in our world." 

Then Dolly added, "You need to bake more cookies...but not for you.  There are others out there who will benefit."

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