Reminiscing, I have been thinking about some of the small things that have been a part of my past and possibly part of yours. I want to share them before they are gone and forgotten. I only wish I had the foresight to have written down the stories from my dad's youth. I need to do that before my memory is completely corrupted by time. I fear much is already tainted and lost.
I can remember going to our country store when my parents, who would give me a few pennies or if I was very fortunate, a whole nickel. I thought I was rich. As I entered the store, I could smell the mingling scents of old wood smoke, leather, and the heady aroma of spices, all mingling to invite the customer to come inside and spend money.
I didn't need the smell, I was drawn to the glass and dark wood display case that housed a plethora of sweet confections. The front of the case always had small finger prints and nose prints of the young shoppers before me. (Even if those hands and noses had no money, they were pressed against the glass, dreaming of what they would buy).
The wood part of the case had darkened over the years from grubby hands touching it as these wee people made their decisions as to what to buy.
A vast array...a kaleidoscope....a veritable treasure trove of candies were on display. The volume made any child's mind whirl, deciding which candy to buy for volume, which candy would last longer, and which to buy for its flavor. No other decision in the world seemed to be larger.
In boxes and glass jars, the shelves were overflowing with mouthwatering sweetness. Even the top of the display case held wonderfully tempting treats. Tall jars with shiny lids held long pretzel rods and pixie sticks that dominated the counter. Boxes of chewing gum crowded tightly around them. The selection seemed enormous; Teaberry in its enticing pink package, Black Jack wrapped in blue, gray, and white, Cloves in red, burgundy, and white, Beeman's looking crisp in white with a bright red banner. Then there were Chicklets, Spearmint, Doublemint, Peppermint, and Juicy Fruit in its bold yellow wrapper.
Inside of the case, on its top shelf were rows and rows of candy bars; Hershey bars, Chunky in its foil, Milkyway, Three Musketeers, Clark bars, and Bonomo Turkish taffy. Zagnut, Necco Sky bars and Necco wafers, Tootsie Rolls, Black Cow, Baby Ruth, Slo-Poke, O'Henry, and Good'n Plenty filled the boxes. Beside them were the bubble gum cigars, Chuckles, Sugar Babies, Cracker Jacks with its surprise tucked inside, and the "so cool" candy cigarettes. My favorite candy was the Lunch Bar. Wrapped in a forest green paper with silver lettering, it was rich milk chocolate with peanuts and the most enticing thing about it was it only cost three cents.
On the lower shelf was the penny candy. (Some were two of three for a penny). It became torture trying to decide which of the sugary delicacies to buy. The selections seemed like an endless array to the youthful eye. It was a vast panorama, but each candy had its merits and would call hauntingly to be chosen. The confusion seemed more dazzling when the sea of candies was reflected in the mirrored doors at the back of the case.
Each candy was unique; Black Jack, licorice whips, Mary Janes, Bazooka bubble gum, red hot Fireballs in their clear cellophane wrappers, wax lips, wax teeth, wax moustaches, sealed wax bottles holding sweet liquids, Kitts, were small squares of taffy in banana, chocolate, or strawberry. Jaw breakers Swedish fish, Jujubies, and root beer barrels were huddled there to name a few.
Finally I would make my decision; some for the flavor and some because they were long-lasting. I would catch the grocer's eye and he would walk over, picking up a very small brown paper sack. With a quick flip of the wrist it would pop open and he would say, "What did you decide?" He opened the mirrored, sliding doors in the back.
Pointing and directing his hovering hand, he would lift my selections and drop them into the depths of the sack. I would hand him my money and after folding down the top of the bag to protect the precious contents, he would hand the much treasured items over to me. I would wrestle with the desire to immediately open the bag to sample some of the flavors inside and the need to make the candy nestled there, last forever.