John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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“A Mars packet, please!”

Early Days

Late 1950s

2010 promotional photo of Mars in cross-section
1. In the late 1950s there was a TV-ad for Mars. It showed one in cross-section and pointed out the nutritional virtues of each of its component parts: “milk chocolate”, “malted milk” and “glucose”. (This was the first time I had ever heard the word “glucose”; and it was evidently our Steve’s first time as well, for he misheard it as “gloose”. And he persisted in saying “gloose” to my annoyance even when I pointed out that it wasn’t “gloose” but “glucose”.) After seeing the advert a few times Steve decided that he’d like to try one.

 2. At that time we were walking to school every weekday along Fleetwood Road. (When the weather was less clement we would get the bus.
[1]) On this particular day we took a slight diversion from our route, turning right when we got to Four Lane Ends and going along Victoria Road, to the sweet shop on the corner of Sandringham Avenue. (It may have been on our way to or from Sunday School[2] that we first observed it. Perhaps it was where Timmy had in mind, when he tried to persuade us to spend our collection-money.[3])
[1] Compare School.
[2] See Sunday School.
[3] See Timothy Leech.

1978 photos. At the time of this story the corner sweet-shop was owned by “G. & M. Worrall”. Later it became West’s, “[Somebody] West”. It was still a sweet shop when the photo was taken, for there are “Wall’s ice cream” signs. Next door was a grocer’s, Makin’s. When the photo was taken it appeared to be a clothes shop — there were garments hanging up outside — but a sign, “Darbyshire’s Prize Bread”, could still be seen above the door.

 3. On this particular occasion it escaped my observation that the shopkeeper only had one-and-a-half ears, and it may have been two or three visits later that I suddenly noticed with a quite a severe shock that the top half of one ear was missing. What was immediately obvious was his characteristic way of saying “Yesss!” when it was one’s turn to buy, and of repeating “Yesss!” when one’s request was given.

 4. The TV-ad, however, didn’t specify in what kind of units Mars was sold; but knowing that it came packaged in paper, Steve asked for “a Mars packet, please.” On this occasion Mr. Worrall departed from his usual “Yesss!”… “Yesss!” pattern to explain that it was a Mars

Worrall’s sweet shop also features in the story David Charles Woodhead and David Charles Jones.

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