Monday, March 20, 2006

Penny Candy

Let's see now, how old am I. . . .
When I was a really little kid, there was a tiny grocery store about a block away called Brown's Groceries.  Mom would sometimes give my sister and me a nickel apiece, or a dime if we got lucky*, and let us walk there and buy penny candy.  Mr. Brown had a glass candy case in the front of the store, and it was a zillion feet high and contained every kind of candy in the known universe.  My sister and I would stand there for a half hour, while Mr. Brown, who never smiled and seldom talked,  put five or ten individual pieces of candy in first my sister's bag, and then mine.  No duplicates!!!!  We chose our candy carefully and only after giving it much serious thought.  It was an important thing, and we were never in a hurry.  He often was, but we weren't.
Does anybody else remember those wax bottles full of sugary liquid?  You drank the liquid and chewed up the wax.  How about (GASP) candy cigarettes?  Wax lips or teeth?  Bazooka bubble gum?  Lik-m-Aid?  Black Jack gum?  Sugar Babies?  Sugar Daddies?  Slo-Pokes?  Red Hots?  Teaberry gum?  (can you do the Teaberry Shuffle?)  Bit o'Honey?  SweeTarts?  (still one of my favorites; I love sour things.)
Most of those, and lots of others whose names I can't think of at the moment, were a penny apiece, although a few were a little more.  For a nickel, my sister and I would walk back home with a little sack half-full of candy.  For a dime, the little sack would be full.  Those were the days. 
Most towns had an ice-cream man.  We had a sno-cone man.  He drove a yellow pickup truck, and had a freezer installed in the back.  He employed two high school girls every summer, who took turns ringing a hanging cowbell CONSTANTLY as the sno-cone man drove all over town, all day.  We could hear his truck all over town; it was hard sometimes to know exactly where he was.  His specialty was sno-cones; not the finely ground snow-like things that pass for sno-cones these days, but a huge pile of small-but-coarsely-ground ICE, in a pointed paper cone, saturated with the flavored syrup of your choice.  I'd love to have one right now.  He also sold Popsicles, Fudgies, and Dreamsicles; they were a nickel.  But for a dime, you could get a real sno-cone, and in my memory, they were huge.
If you weren't in the mood for any of those, you could always take your nickel and buy a Hershey bar.  Or any other kind of candy bar.  They were a lot bigger then, and the recipes were different.  It's not just age and imagination that makes me say that, either.
And if you somehow had a QUARTER to spend. . . . .you could get six candy bars for a quarter. 
But for your quarter you could also walk down the street to Little Jerry's (not to be confused with Big Jerry's, the chain restaurant) and get a hamburger, fries, and coke for twenty-five cents.  And if you had thirty cents, you could get a BIG coke.
Prices have changed a little since then.
*In later years, this expression took on a different meaning.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:21 PM | |


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