20

I think I read this short story in a collection, but I am not sure. I read it probably as early as the 70’s, maybe the 80’s, but of course it could be older.

In a typical US suburban area, a new family moves into a house. A nice neighbour housewife welcomes them by bringing cookies, and the mother of this new family greets her kindly, offering her own cookies. But no drinks. When the neighbour asks for a glass of water she very obligingly brings her one, holding it through a thick paper tissue. The neighbour sees this as a sign of cleanliness, and is very pleased.

The two families get along very well, and the “old” family (the are the same age, by “old” I mean, those who were there first) invites the “new” one for an outing at a Fair. The “new” husband explains he is worried about the weather, but the forecasts promise sunshine for the whole day, so he finally accepts.

So they all go together, but the “new” father has his radio with him at all times, constantly listening to updates in the weather forecasts. All the kids have a great time, and the “new” kids eat a lot of cotton candy, but decline all offers of soft drinks, contrary to the “old” kids. Suddenly the “new” father becomes very agitated. The latest weather forecasts announce a thunderstorm for the end of the afternoon. He insists on going straight home. So they all run to the car (I believe, the all fit in the “old” family’s car, but maybe not) and drive back in a hurry. From the curb to the house there are just a few paces through the front lawn, but before they can reach the porch a very sudden and heavy rain falls on them. In a few seconds only a few flesh-colored puddles of syrup is left of this sweet, sweet “new” family….

30

As per the unaccepted answer to Children's story c. 1990-95 about a family of sugar people, this is "Rain, Rain, Go Away" by Isaac Asimov, 1959, story online here:

“Her kitchen,” said Lillian, ignoring him, “was so spanking clean you just couldn’t believe she ever used it. I asked for a drink of water and she held the glass underneath the tap and poured slowly so that not one drop fell in the sink itself. It wasn’t affectation. She did it so casually that I just knew she always did it that way. And when she gave me the glass she held it with a clean napkin. Just hospital-sanitary.”

....

Their faces blurred as the rain hit; blurred and shrank and ran together. All three shriveled, collapsing within their clothes, which sank down into three sticky-wet heaps. And while the Wright’s sat there, transfixed with horror, Lillian found herself unable to stop the completion of her remark: “—made of sugar and afraid they would melt.”

As was noted by Zev Spitz, the family name of Sakkaro may have been one of the puns that Asimov was so fond of, saccharon being a Latin word for syrupy liquid, from the Greek sákkharon, and Sanskrit śárkarā (those words coming from Proto-European words for gravel, due to how sugar crystals form).

  • A clean napkin indeed. Much better than the paper tissue I thought I remembered. But the neighbour's interpretation as "hospital-sanitary", yes, absolutely ! – Alfred Nov 26 '19 at 9:22
  • 1
    Isn't Sakkaro some variation/translation of sugar? – Zev Spitz Nov 26 '19 at 14:19
  • 2
    saccharon is Latin for sugar. It's where we get "saccharine". – FuzzyBoots Nov 26 '19 at 14:23

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