It’s such an ephemeral, delicate, tender, happy color, isn’t it? Often associated with flowers, babies, little girls, cotton candy, and ballerinas, this bubble-gum hued color is sweet and playful and cute. It’s romantic and charming and feminine. And, as if the color pink wasn’t amazing enough, it’s so special it doesn’t even appear in the rainbow. It’s like a unicorn: rare and magical and mystical and oh-so-beloved.
First used as a color name in the late 17th century, pink is a pale red color named after a flower of the same name. For you garden buffs out there, we’re talking about Dianthus plumarius here, which are also known as the common, garden, or wild pink.
For today’s Throwback Thursday post, we’re rounding up some of the most nostalgic things that are—you guessed it—pink. From treats and products and drinks to music and movies and pop culture icons, this list of winners (and runners-up!) is sure to tickle you pink as it takes you on a tantalizingly tender—and sometimes tasty—trip down memory lane. We’re even tossing in some fun history to cap it off, kinda like the cherry perched precariously on a pile of whipped cream on top of a generous scoop of sweet, soft pink, strawberry ice cream.
And since tomorrow is National Pink Day, you can keep this party hopping by putting on your pretty pink outfit (and come on, guys, we know you have a pink shirt hidden away in your closet somewhere), popping in piece of bubble gum, and proudly singing a song like Aerosmith’s Pink at the top of your lungs…“Pink it’s my new obsession, Pink it’s not even a question.” Don’t worry, we won’t judge, we’ll be right there with you, professing our love of all things pink, too.
Here’s to PINK!
Nostalgic Pink Treat: Bubble Gum… Because nothing beats blowing (and popping) a perfect pink bubble of your favorite bubble gum.
Which was your favorite? Was it Bazooka, Dubble Bubble or Super Bubble? What about Hubba Bubba, Bubble Yum, or Bubble Tape? Regardless of which kind you prefer, they all share the same origin: Back in 1928, a man by the name of Walter Diemer—an accountant at Fleer Chewing Gum Company—was experimenting with new gum recipes and developed one that was less sticky and stretched more easily than regular chewing gum. Eventually named Dubble Bubble because of its stretchy texture, its pink hue was due to the fact that it was only color dye Diemer had on hand at the time he created it. And the rest, as they say, is history.
**Runner Up: Cotton Candy
Nostalgic Pink Product: Pink Pearl Erasers… Because who isn’t nostalgic for this classic childhood schoolroom mainstay and its rubbery smell, happy color, and perfect little pink bits of dust?
Originally produced by the Eberhard Faber Company, a pencil manufacturer with its roots in eighteenth-century Bavaria, the Pink Pearl Eraser derived its name from the Pearl Pencil that Eberhard Faber was producing for the F. W. Woolworth company. The magic ingredient in the eraser is pumice, which gives it its abrasiveness, color, and distinctive smell.
There’s so much nostalgia involved in this old school “delete button” that artists and designers can’t help but be inspired by this pearl of a school supply. And the results are pretty darn cool. We especially love this awesome pink pearl eraser-inspired mug by CircaCeramics.
**Runner Up: Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath
Nostalgic Pink Drink: Pink Lemonade… Because when life hands you lemons, you might as well add a splash of color when you make that lemonade.
Be thankful that today’s versions of pink lemonade are made with flavors such as cranberry, strawberry, or raspberry or get their color from a simple red food dye: Legend has it that this dainty-colored drink’s origins weren’t very palette-pleasing. Back in 1857, a salesman that sold concessions at the circus ran out of water to make lemonade. He rushed to the dressing tent and came across a vat of water that had a bareback rider’s pink tights soaking inside it. Seeing that the liquid had taken on a deep pink hue, without a second thought, he grabbed the water and sold it as “fine strawberry lemonade.” Apparently the circus-goers were none the wiser: he sold twice as much lemonade that day.
We think we’ll stick with the fruit flavored kind, don’t you? We’re sure you’ll pucker up for these perfect pink lemonades over at Smitten Kitchen—she makes the classic drink three different ways!
**Runner Up: Shirley Temple
Released in 1983 on Mellencamp’s Uh-Huh album, the lyrics for Pink Houses came to him on his drive home to Bloomington, Indiana from the Indianapolis airport. As Mellencamp drove along an overpass, he noticed a man sitting outside his little pink house with a cat in his arms, completely unfazed by the speeding traffic going on right next to him. “He waved, and I waved back,” Mellencamp said in an interview with Rolling Stone. This heartland rocker won over the hearts of fans with this song, and has continued to do so since. We particularly love it because–you guessed it—it evokes nostalgia for a much simpler time and blends it with our modern day America, one where interstates run through front yards.
Nostalgic Pink Movie: Pretty in Pink… Because who doesn’t love a classic John Hughes movie?
Even though this movie is over 30 years old now (how on earth did that happen!?), the struggles and angst these beloved high schoolers face and feel in this iconic teen romance are timeless. Fun fact: Although John Hughes had written the role of Andie for Molly Ringwald—who had previously appeared in his other classic teenage movie, Sixteen Candles—the movie studio originally wanted to pick a “flashier” actress for the role: “Flashdance” star Jennifer Beals. Can you imagine Pretty in Pink without Molly Ringwald? We certainly can’t.
**Runner Up: Pink Panther
Nostalgic Pink Pop-Culture Icon: Mary Kay’s Pink Cadillac… Because who doesn’t remember how fun it was to see a pink Caddy driving down the road?
In 1967, four years after she launched her now famous cosmetics company, Mary Kay Ash walked into a Lincoln dealership in search of a car that would suit her newfound success. She wanted one in a custom color—one that would match the light pink of the blush she carried in her purse. But a salesman approached her and said, “Little lady, go home and get your husband. When you come back, we’ll get you a Lincoln.” Ash was a woman who demanded respect (and rightfully so), so she took her business elsewhere. When she asked a Cadillac dealer to do the same, they didn’t bat an eye, because, as luck would have it, the color matched one of their archived ones, a hue called Mountain Laurel.
Given her entrepreneurial spirit, Ash realized her car could be both a powerful company symbol, one that could also motivate her consultants to sell more product. In 1969, she rewarded her top five sellers with a brand new, blush-colored Cadillac Coupe de Ville. That iconic pink Cadillac certainly is some eye candy to behold!
**Runner Up: Pink Plastic Flamingos
Top image courtesy of Kristin Nador, licensed under CC by 2.0.
Talk to Us: What are some of your favorite pink things? Are you nostalgic for something pink that we missed?
At the The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.