Kid in a Candy Store

Went to a very cool candy store the other day with my daughter…in addition to the upscale staples like Godiva and Lindor, this place had all sorts of “retro” candy. While it sent me into a vortex of memories and constant outbursts of “I remember those!” I was also left explaining to Sarah that yes, kids did in fact eat those sugary, often wax covered, messes that passed for candy in our day.  And with a smile to boot.  Oh, and if we didn’t have a smile for whatever reason, we always had wax lips to give others the impression we were smiling. Or vampires. Or old men. Or had some serious lip plumper surgery. Changing our identity through candy products was easy-peasy back in the day.

I was surprised to see candy cigarettes.  I thought those would’ve gone out the window when the powers that be stopped showing people smoking in movies and ads.  But nope.  They were there too.  Sarah actually remembers playing with and eating those.  Not sure what that says about me as a parent.

This fit of nostalgia was well-timed. I needed a little boost in my day and besides being surrounded by candy, which in itself is always uplifting, the trip down memory lane succeeded in making me smile.  When he was younger and through the teenage years, my brother played Little League baseball.  He was a pretty talented pitcher (don’t let him know I said that) and my Dad often coached. Not to be left behind in a boring house, my mother always attended the games which meant my attendance at these weekly games was forced as well.  A family affair.

Most of my time was spent with a friend who also had a brother on the team and if we weren’t at her house swimming in a green, stagnant pool or roaming the surrounding area for free puppies to bring home, we were at the concession stand.  I loved the concession stand. Hot dogs, cardboard pizza, snowballs. And candy.  Gigantic pixie sticks which I have no doubt had my mother shaking her head upon my return to our seats as she imagined the meltdown sure to come once the sugar rush wore off.  Wax lips?  Of course.  Wax soda bottles filled with some unknown liquid that tasted nothing like soda and I wouldn’t touch with a broom stick nowadays? Yep. Those too.

My favorite, which also happens to be Sarah’s favorite, were candy necklaces.  Although my friends and I had bracelets too.  I didn’t see those at the store Sarah and I recently visited. Ahhh, the memories. I tell you, there’s nothing like wearing bits of candy against your 10-year old naked neck or wrapped tightly around a filthy wrist in 90-degree weather as you run chaotically around a park that’s made up of busy, red-earth filled baseball fields and where even the parking lot was made of loose clay, thus having clouds of red dust and dirt continually blooming up into your face, on your hands from being an “active kid,” and every other exposed body part (and from the looks of my socks after a game, even some body parts that weren’t exposed) that mixed nicely with the inevitable sweat to create a thin (or not so thin) sheen of grime along your skin, then eating said candy.  Oh yeah.  Good times.

those were the gum chewing days

those were the gum chewing days


not even sure what the hell that liquid inside even is

not even sure what the hell that liquid inside even is


excuse me while I change my identity by gnawing on bits of colored wax

excuse me while I change my identity by gnawing on bits of colored wax


dots of ...sugar flavored sugar, always a good idea

dots of …sugar flavored sugar, always a good idea for small children


teaching bad habits early...that was apparently the idea

teaching bad habits early…that was apparently the idea


oh yes, always a yummy treat

oh yes, always a yummy treat

6 thoughts on “Kid in a Candy Store

  1. A lot of golden oldies. Fun! I’ve bought ca ft cigarettes in the last 3 years. I think it was in New Orleans.

  2. I remember all of those and with the same smile on my face. What WAS in those wax pop bottles? The best memory is that NO ONE CARED AND EVERYTHING WAS FUN…PEOPLE WERE NOT TERRIFIED OF EVERY SINGLE THING THEY DID. We just lived and it was wonderful. Today is a nightmare and people never live outright, they just think about gluten and sugar and all the unimportant things while life continues to give them wax bottles with stuff inside, wax lips and all of it screams at them to TAKE A BLOODY CHANCE ON LIFE. Sigh. But no, they wrap their fear around them and that’s all they talk about. Boring, sad, dull and useless. No fun at all.

  3. So funny! A friend and I also visited a retro candy store the other day while visiting Virginia City. They had a lot of these types of treats, plus a bunch of retro candy bars that you no longer see in grocery stores. It was like stepping back in time to a much calmer era, when everyone wasn’t so frantic and overprotective.

    Even growing up as recently as the ’90s, it as still a heck of a lot different than it was today. I think mine was one of the last generations that actually played outside. It was just so much funner without technology and social media.

    And yes, the irony that I just posted this comment on a social-media channel isn’t lost on me. 😉

  4. You know you’ve crossed an age and maturity threshold when you pick up a candy bar and say, “Geez, they’re so much smaller now,” you pay for it and mutter, “Seriously? Ninety-five cents? Back in [insert year before anyone around you was born], they were only [insert fraction of ninety-five cents],” and then you bite into it and groan, “I remember this tasting more like…you know…joy.”

    And then you make yourself a cocktail.

  5. As a survivor of Catholic school in the early 60’s (that’s the 1960’s, before you get sassy) your story reminded me of our monthly “candy day.” In a dank, dark, underground auditorium (that passed as a bunker in the most literal sense – that’s where we went to hide from either tornadoes or Russian ICBMs) they would set up row after row of folding tables, all covered with candy. Most of it just as disgusting as some of the stuff you described. (Wax lips, and we ATE THE WAX? Why not just gnaw on a votive candle?) If I had been really, really good (it happened once or twice) I might get fifty cents, which would buy probably ten items.

    BUT, being Catholics and being trained in denial, suffering, and self-abuse (no, not THAT kind!) we were not allowed to actually EAT any of the candy until we got home. We would spend all day knowing that it was there in our lunch box or coat pocket, but we had to pay attention through Catechism or world history to get through to the end of the day and the glorious bounty that was there.

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