In April I am off to New Orleans to the Popular Culture Conference to give a paper about Australian baby boomers and Jaffas. Remember all that Jaffa-rolling down the aisles of the local picture theatre? Well, a Jaffa always was a marble or a mini cricket ball, wasn’t it?
If the aniseed ball defines the 1930s childhood it seems that the Jaffa defines the baby boomer childhood. While one cannot imagine children of the Depression throwing precious lollies onto the ground (though they might pick one up), post-war kids had enough money to start playing with their confectionery in ways that their parents’ generation could not have conceived of.
Of course, contemporary children have still more money to spend on lollies, but picture theatres are no longer their primary source of entertainment and the stepped, carpeted floors in Megaplexes do not lend themselves to Jaffa-rolling. But the thrill of a Jaffa gathering speed as it made its way down the sloped wooden floor of the 1950s and 60s, at a suitably poignant part of the action of course, is one of the moments most commonly recalled by older Australians when reminiscing about their childhood confectionery.
Let me know your thoughts on the practice of Jaffa-rolling. Did girls do it too? What did we think about the children who picked the Jaffas up afterwards and ate them? Was there a similar practice in other countries?