So y’all know about my ice-cream truck endeavor when I was six. Well that was just the tip of the iceberg. Though the truck never hit the streets, I had tasted the power. The power of entrepeneurship.
Growing up in the apartment building, I spent most of my time reading. One of my favorite books at the time was something about “How to Run a Successful Lemonade Stand.” But this was no whimsical childhood tale. This was serious business, a kid’s book about how to run a quality lemonade stand so you’re not like all the other suckers with their inferior stands. I’m not kidding, the ’70s were a weird time. The creepiest horror movies, and the creepiest children’s books. I will write more about this another time, promise. There will be dinosaurs eating children. Anyway, this lemonade stand book I remember as starring the little naked “Love Is…” people, but that can’t be right. And it was really ambitious! You had to squeeze lemons fresh, and in the book the kids had this really exotic lemon squeezer, so it PISSED me off that my parents would not give me the only thing I’d ever wanted all of a sudden, a lemon squeezer. This may be why as an adult, I own more kitchen gadgets than anyone I’ve ever known.
My lemonade stand dream could not come to fruition, no pun intended, at that time, lemon squeezer or no lemon squeezer. While I used to hang up my beautiful drawings of stickish figures on lined legal paper, and sell them in the lobby for 10 cents each, I was not allowed to sell beverages. Fair enough. So when we moved to a house in suburbia, I overcame ticky-tacky ennui by using my knowledge to establish a primo lemonade stand.
I gathered my friends, and got all Chef Ramsay on them. “More sugar!” “They must be fresh squeezed!” I did not want to fail like the Goofus stands in my book. I did not want to be mocked behind closed doors. I’d had six whole years to do my research, and this was the big test!
It went horribly. People wouldn’t even buy the lemonade for 10 cents. I made no profit, and felt very sticky all day from the lemon squeezing, not to mention opening up individual packet after individual packet that I think my parents “borrowed” from Howard Johnson’s when they worked there, rather than buying bags of sugar.
Defeat. Until another friend suggested that Kool-Aid would be a good supplement. And that kids didn’t want fresh lemonade; they wanted it from powder. I felt so dirty, but realized my friend had a point. We made our colorful chemical beverages at her house, because I had one of those “health” moms, and powdered drinks were out of the question. So we sat outside and got other kids from the neighborhood to help chant, “LEMONADE! KOOL-AID! FIVE!CENTS!A!GLASS!” It really became quite the festival. By the end, we’d raised the price to 50 cents, and made a lot of money! Well, a lot of coins. But it felt very glamorous, and I was thrilled to at last have my successful lemonade stand. And entrepreneurial success has been mine ever since!