Black History Month is almost over. So let me confess that John Amos practically raised me as a child through my TV set. He was a force to be reckoned with. He was also in some of my favorite '80s movies, like The Beastmaster and Coming to America. Maybe he's also the reason I was such a fat kid, because we had a Famous Amos factory around the corner back in the day and I sought out those little chocolatey love nuggets like ... a fat kid loves Famous Amos cookies.
Back in 1979 there was a Famous Amos factory in Clifton, not far from where I grew up. Above the building towered a huge billboard starring the owner. But to a little white kid, it was a gigantic black dude proffering delicious confections. He was always smiling, his cookies must be really good! And they were. The workers would give out bags of broken cookies to the local kids, any day of the week. So we made frequent pilgrimages down Washington Avenue, past the now-fallen ITT Tower to get some cookay! Kids would never be able to roam today like we used to. At least we got some exercise getting those cookies, but it didn't really help much.
My childhood landmarks are long gone. The Famous Amos factory is now common industrial space and the ITT Tower was demolished while I was living in Minneapolis. My uncle sent me a photo from the newspaper, but I recently found video of it on youtube. I have fond memories of trespassing on ITT land, pretending their undeveloped acres were tracts of unexplored forest with my buddies. Every time I find a Famous Amos cookie, I remember being a fat little kid wearing a rayon shirt with a huge collar, munching broken cookies under a huge Amos billboard, and riding home on my Huffy bike to catch Good Times on the boob tube.