“Why are they all different colors?” Peter asks. Bubble-blowing is a new experience for him.
“‘Cause they’re soapy, I guess,” I say. Heck, I don’t know why bubbles look like floating rainbows in the round.
“But the stuff in the bottle is purple!”
Oh, I get it. He thinks the bubbles should be purple. “Food coloring maybe?”
“To make it look like grape pop.” The tiny bottles were made to look like look like pop — soda — bottles.
“You know, a soft drink…Coke…Coca Cola….”
“Not me! I drink beer!” He smiled to see if I got his little joke.
“GLYCERINE!” I say, inspired. “The bubble juice has glycerine in it, I’ll bet that’s why they’re so colorful.”
“How do you know that?” he asks.
“I don’t. I’m guessing. My mom used to make a bubble concoction with a cake of Ivory soap…and something else….” Back then, little kids had bubble pipes,, not plastic wands like now. I played with mine for hours because I thought I looked like my daddy. He smoked a pipe. The only bad thing with bubble pipes was, if you forgot and inhaled, you got a mouthful of soapy water.
I’ve since discovered that glycerine doesn’t cause the bubbles’ iridescence, the soap does. Glycerine makes the bubbles supple and extends their life. Either Karo or Golden Syrup can be used in place of glycerine. Who knew?
Peter carries on blowing bubbles, fascinated with a childhood pastime he never experienced. In war torn England, little kids didn’t have such luxuries, I suppose. Mums didn’t have extra Fairy Liquid and Golden Syrup with which to stir up entertainment for their children.
The National Society of Newspaper Columnists contest winner, 2016 —
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