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.