One of my favourite children’s books, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, begins with,

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“I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”

It would appear that luck has been on my side because I have often slept with gum in my mouth and it stayed in there.

Do you remember when Wrigley’s Spearmint, Doublemint and Juicy Fruit were the three choices for chewing gum? A different company made Chiclets and included a variety of fruit flavours in one box.

Bubble gum that turned into rock-hard gobs has been around for years. Remember the comic on the wrapping?  I suspect you haven’t thought about Bazooka Joe for years. And the bubble gum that came in packs of baseball and hockey cards?

Ewwwwww! I just remembered that horrid gum that tasted like soap? It was called Thrills. The very thought sends chills, not thrills, up and down my spine.


And don’t forget about ABC gum? (Already Been Chewed).


  1. Do you whack, smack and snap your gum?
  2. Do you swallow your gum?
  3. Did you ever blow a big bubble that collapsed all over your face?
  4. Do you chew several sticks of gum at a time?
  5. Do you chew the same piece of gum for days?
  6. Have you stuck your gum under a desk or church pew?
  7. Do your jaws get sore from too much chewing?
  8. Have you been warned that if you swallowed gum, it would remain in your stomach for seven years?


Chewing gum disasters have been a constant over the years, but one, stands out in my mind. It took place at the Lockeport Pentecostal Church in the sixties. I had gum in my mouth during Sunday School, but I did not leave it there. Nope, I took it out of my mouth and started playing with it and had fun rolling it into one ball or several small balls between my palms. At some point the gum a chemical change occurred and it changed from soft to sticky. It stuck to every square inch of my hands and efforts to remove it made it worse. Mom was not impressed. She got it off, but I can’t remember how. (Perhaps she used her gum to clean the gum off my hands.)


Chewing gum in school has always been a contentious matter. As generous and kind as I was in my classroom, I could not tolerate chewing gum. I worked with teachers who allowed it if the gum was not seen or heard. Other teachers allowed gum if the student brought enough for the entire class. When I posted the topic for this week’s story, a former student reminded me of a gum incident from Grade 4.

SELINA: This reminds me of Grade 4.
MELDA: Did I let you chew gum in my class?
SELINA: You must have, because someone in our class chewed it and then put it on a chair that you then sat on and it wrecked your pants!! You were not happy.

Thanks for the memory, Selina!


Our knowledge of chewing gum has increased over the years. Chewing gum has been the subject of many research projects. While I am loath to admit it, I was wrong. I should have permitted my students to have gum.

“Chewing gum can help alertness, reduce anxiety, and reduce stress and salivary cortisol levels. If you are feeling stressed, a piece of gum can help soothe your nerves and give your mouth something to do. The methodical act of slowly chewing gum can help you concentrate on your tasks and keep a level head. Another good thing about chewing gum in a stressful situation is that you are less likely to reach for a pint of ice cream to calm your stress levels.”

I apologize to any student whose gum I confiscated, EXCEPT the kid who ruined my designer thrift store pants.


If you must chew gum, please follow proper chewing gum etiquette,



Now if my little friend from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day had lived in Singapore, he wouldn’t have had gum stuck in his hair because it is banned in that country.

By the way, can you walk and chew gum at the same time? Just wondering.