Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Penny Candy

I miss penny candy. When I was a little kid we had a little store in our community. Going to the store was really the only thing to do besides just playing or exploring the woods. My parents had a charge account there. They would send us quite often to get bread or cigarettes or soft drinks. That was a bitch for the first several years because it was quite a walk, but at the end of third grade we moved right across a dirt road from the store. Everyone called the store "Leroy's" as in "I'm going to Leroy's" even though I'm pretty sure that wasn't the name on the sign. Leroy was the nice old man that ran the store. He probably wasn't really old because his youngest daughter was just a year older than my big brother. But anyone older than my parents always seemed old.
The door to the store was like a regular house door. There was a wooden door with windows and a screen door. When the weather was nice the wooden door stayed open and you entered through the screen door. The door was in the center of the building. When you walked in you were facing the counter. On the right against the front wall there was one of those drink fridges that are about 3 feet high with the doors that slide open and you reach down inside for your drink. That always felt so good in the summer and I'd always stick my whole head down in there. Usually someone was sitting up there, so when you wanted a drink, they'd have to hop off. I spent quite some time sitting up there myself.
In the back right of the store was a bench and a little short table with checkers and a few chairs. That's also where the big brown metal furnace was. That was a cozy place to hang out in the winter. The cold drink machine tops were the best place to sit in summer. And speaking of summer, on the left front wall was the slide top freezer - much like the drink coolers. It contained frozen popsicles and fudgesicles and ice cream sandwiches. Good stuff on a hot summer day. Except a good third of it ended up melting all over you.
The best part of the store was down the left of the front counter area. It was a glass paned box framed in dark wood strips and filled with penny candy. I loved the variety. On any given day, if I had a dime, I'd get: 3 Pixie Stix, 2 Bazooka gums (I loved the Bazooka Joe comics!), 2 creme filled caramels (like in the picture at top), 2 fireballs, and a grape gumball. I mixed it up all the time and sometimes I might just be in the mood for 10 Pixie Stix or 10 fireballs.
There were some items in the wonderful glass box that weren't penny candy, like baseball cards, candy cigarettes and seasonal items like the "edible" wax teeth at Halloween. I remember when Leroy got the wax "pop" bottles. You bit off the top, spit it out and poured the quarter ounce of fruity sugary liquid in your mouth and life was good. I used to even buy baseball cards because I loved the gum and I loved the way the cards smelled. And it was something to read.
Every once in a while I think about those caramels and fireballs and grape gumballs and really wish I could walk across a dirt road and get a little brown paper bag full of penny candy. Or maybe I'd really just like to step back in time and walk through that screen door into Leroy's. Good times. And good memories.


Jazz said...

I think it's sad these stores don't exist anymore.

Lo said...

We called my little store like that "Jenny's" that was the old lady's name.... not sure what her husband's name was, but he would always make us kids laugh. Ahh... the good ol days.... :)

geewits said...

~~I'd like to think there's a litlle store like that somewhere. Except I guess they would have nickel candies.

~~Glad you had a store like that!

VioletSky said...

I saw a couple of stores almost like that while on my way to the cottage. but they were poorly stocked and looked dirty and old and unappetising. not at all like our memories (well, yours mostly, my memory is a bit faint)

XUP said...

I was going to ask Jazz if there aren't stores like that still up in cottage country? There always used to be, but I haven't been for about 10 years. I was never a big fan of candy, but I did collect Beatles cards. Can you imagine what those would be worth now?

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I fewlt I was there with you...What a wonderful memory this is...! Nothing like the 'corner store' with all those sweet goodies.

As to people dressing in the same colors at these lunches---All by accident. Maybe one would call it 'serendipity'?

geewits said...

~~I wonder what that store would look like to me now. I have a friend that may know his youngest daughter. I sent him a message saying I would like any pictures.

~~There you go with your neatness and minimalism.

~~Thanks!! I felt like I was there myself. Serendipity. I like that.