Saturday, November 21, 2015
Buddy B Confronts the Gerber Baby
Ann Turner Cook, whose drawing appeared on the original label, turned 87 today. God bless the child, a retired English teacher. Burgle-gurgle, Gerber Girl! She's a Gerber Girl in a Gerber World...!
Actually, I was never sure about the original baby's gender. In fact, I assumed it was a bouncing baby boy. In the '80s, I would often sit next to some queen at Boots and Saddle bar on Christopher Street, who would tell everyone that he was the original Gerber Baby and lived off his royalties from the company. At first, I believed him, until his fib began to unravel with multiple inconsistencies. After that, I'd wave and smile when I entered the bar, and sit at the other end so I didn't have to hear his goddamned Gerber Baby stories again. Lesson: If you drink, don't lie.
Gerber baby foods are, nutritionally, high in calories, sugar and salt, incidentally. Nevertheless, it's what I was weened on in my highchair. No wonder I'd often spit it out, though I did like the strained apple and banana. I was happy to move on to real food once I had teeth. But who knows if, in my dotage, I'll be back to Gerber meals once more. The possibility looms.
Gerber babies have since shown diversity -- in terms of race and gender -- now in color photographs.
But happy birthday from Buddy Beaverhausen to Ann Turner Cook, now a great-grandmother, I'm sure she has lots of Gerber baby foods to pass down. She is an unsung pop-culture idol and icon in her own right. Hail to the Gerber Diva!