You know how it is: You’re on a six-hour road trip by car with an old friend, and you talk about anything that comes to mind. Old girlfriends. Crazy incidents from playing in bands together. Exactly what the heck is in a jujube?

“Aren’t jujubes hard?” my buddy asked in passing. “And what part of the juju is used to make them?”

“That, my friend, “I said, “is a question for the ages!”

That was the end of the conversation. But it somewhat rusty cogs of my brain were left a’ turning: “Do they still make jujubes?”

My experience with candy since I became an adult has usually been limited to purchases at movie concession stands or an occasional stop at what used to be called a “penny candy store.” I thought I might venture out after I arrived home to see if I could find jujubes. I didn’t make it: the temperature being near 97 degrees when I pulled into my driveway, I though the candy – or the soles of my shoes – might melt as soon as I stepped out of the store. So I decided to look online.

Wikipedia tells me a recipe for jujubes first was appeared in American in the 1700s. Perhaps this Revolutionary War-era sweet is what rotted George Washington’s teeth at Valley Forge, forcing him to wear false choppers. The boxed candy most of us remember did not appear until 1920. But now, I learned, the official Jujube candy in the lime-green box is made in Mexico. When I entered “jujube” into Google, the first search result revealed JuJuBe diaper bags and backpacks, made by a Southern California-based company. My son is now 33; he carries his own diapers. Second result: “Jujube, sometimes jujuba, known by the scientific name Ziziphus jujuba and also called red date, Chinese date, and Chinese jujube, is a species in the genus Ziziphus in the buckthorn family Rhamnaceae.” Whaaaa? Third result: JuJube, a Chinese-Vietnamese Restaurant in North Carolina. But it doesn’t serve jujubes.

After 15 results, I still hadn’t found anywhere to buy jujubes. Then it hit me: Amazon! If you can buy a prefabricated home in a shipping container ($36,000) from Amazon, why not jujubes? Huzzah! I found a pack of 12, 5.5-ounce boxes for $32.99 (or $2.75 per box). Or a single box ($5.75) that contains around 160 individual pieces of candy. But these don’t look like the jujubes I recall from childhood. Those were bumpy, each piece resembling a bunch of grapes. Contemporary look rather like corks. And the description of the official Jujubes calls them “brightly colored candies [which] have a dense, long lasting texture that’s fun to chew.” But my memory tells me that my childhood treats were harder than the pieces of the jackhammered Berlin Wall that were being sold in the early 1990s.

Amazon reviews confused me further. “Soft and chewy,” said one. “Rock hard, filling ruining,” said another. Confused, I didn’t order.

Now I’m perplexed. Were the Jujubes I ate in the 1950s hard, or soft? Perhaps my memory is fading faster that the flavor of a piece of Mentos gum.

I swear that Pittsburgh once had a baseball team that won three World Series titles in less than two decades.

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