(Roughly) Daily

“It’s not the end of Western Civilization. It’s chewing gum.”*…

 

Santa Anna

Antonio López de Santa Anna in his days as a dashing soldier, before his unglamorous exile

 

Two years before he died senile and broke, the disgraced Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna lived in a modest residence in Staten Island. Known variously as the executioner of hundreds at The Alamo, the man who lost Texas, and “His Most Serene Highness” and “The Eagle,” Santa Anna was missing a leg and had recently been conned out of tens of thousands of pesos. He spent his exile moving among high society, plotting to get rich or return to Mexico, and chewing on something called chicle.

Santa Anna hoped that his supply of chicle, a natural latex harvested from trees in the same fashion as rubber, would make him rich. He’d pitched Thomas Adams, a local inventor, on developing this foreign substance into an inexpensive replacement for rubber. It never worked. But after he left for Mexico for the final time, dumping his chicle on Adams, it became something else: the first modern chewing gum…

He captured the Alamo, lost Texas, and helped invent Tutti Frutti: “How a Mexican General’s Exile in Staten Island Led to Modern Chewing Gum.”

* Jerry Springer (defending his television show)

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As we’re careful not to swallow, we might recall that it was on this date in 2012, in the final week of that year’s Texas State Fair, that “Big Tex,” a 55-foot tall statue, marketing icon, and traditional meeting place at the Fair since 1952, was destroyed by fire.  (It was replaced by an updated replica the following year.)

200px-Big-tex-1956 source

 

Written by LW

October 19, 2019 at 1:01 am

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