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The Thrill Of Going To The Penny Candy Store!

Culture | January 29, 2018

Child buying sweets at shop counter 9th April 1962. (Photo by Daily Herald/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Walking to the local candy store as a kid was such a thrill. This is when walking alone, or with a sibling or friend, was still safe. After doing Saturday morning chores, it was a treat to get a dime to take to the corner store. Oh, the possibilities… Walking into the store was actually overwhelming because it was then time to make important and careful choices.

Jawbreakers, fireballs, Mary Janes, button candy, ribbon candy, wax bottle candy, pixie sticks… The list was endless. These stores were billed as “penny candy” stores. The reason being is that you could walk in with ten cents and leave with a little paper bag full of goodies. If you were really lucky, you got a quarter!

I remember walking to the candy store, which was also a little convenience store. It was on a very busy road, but we didn’t have to cross it, and we never got hit, so it was no problem. Usually, my older sister went with me and since she was the oldest, she carried the money. On more than one occasion, by the time we had gotten there, she mysteriously only had one dime or quarter. She must have had a very keen eye because she was always able to determine that the one that was missing was mine. Go figure! It was an emancipating day when I was finally able to be responsible for my own candy money.

Candy cigarettes were the best! Not necessarily because they tasted good, but because we could imitate our parents and grandparents. We felt so grown up! My parents didn't smoke but my grandmother did, and I worshiped the ground she walked on!

Bottle Caps were always a favorite of mine! I thought it was just so clever to have a candy shaped like a bottle cap. I guess I was easily impressed!

Rock candy was always a treat. What was not to love? It came in a variety of bright colors and was pure sugar!

Fruit Striped Gum, you know the one with the silly giraffe, was always a hit! Of course, sometimes that took the entire dime so I didn’t get that as often as I would have liked. Looking back, I remember the gum only tasting fruity for about 10 chews. Then it got hard and had to be spit out only to chew another piece right away.  And don’t think it was OK to spit it out without wrapping it in a tissue! That was a “no, no”.

Candy necklaces were always a fun choice. My mother especially liked it when we brought them home (not really… they were a mother’s nightmare). The candy necklace was famous for staining our clothes, especially our shirt collars. To enjoy the candy necklace, all you had to do is pop it in your mouth and bite a piece off of the elastic string hanging from your neck. Naturally, it got wet and sticky from being in and out of our mouths so the coloring on the candy would bleed on to whatever we were wearing. Another attribute of the candy necklace is that it always left our fingers sticky which in turn left sticky fingerprints on anything we touched.

Candy necklaces were especially great on a hot sticky day. Not only did the candy leave a sticky mark on our necks but mix it with sweat and whatever dirt stuck to it from rolling around on the ground and you had an extra special treat!

When I first discovered pop rocks, I thought I had seen everything! It was like a candy explosion right in your mouth! Wash it down with some soda and you have a real experience!

It is so much fun to look back and think about all of the little nuances in life that made childhood so special. The penny candy store is one that really hit the mark for me.

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.