Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Tale and a Treat From the Past

These gloomy long days of winter get me to reminiscing.  I got to thinking back to childhood the other day (I do that a lot).  I had a good childhood, and I realize not everyone did.  I am so sorry for those who didn't.

We had a small grocery store just a couple blocks from my home and it was called Slick's Market (the owners last name).  We would walk there whenever we had the chance in the summer and many times, we would get off the school bus (junior high and high school) there and then walk home.  I walked to school the first 6 years - so I didn't ride a bus till junior high.

Now let me explain when I say a couple blocks away.  The area was originally  rural and farm land.  I have copies of the plat maps and the ownership lineage of my family home and the entire area that date back to 1828.  Over time, more homes were added and streets were added.  So the north/south block we walked would be equivalent to probably at least 3 blocks today - then we turned and walked down the east/west road (the old sheep farm) that was probably the same.  NO ONE ever worried about us doing this.  Neighbors watched out for neighbors.

Slicks's had a candy counter.  The big glass front, multi shelved counter FULL of penny candy.  It was just as you walked in the door!  In front of  that (at your back when looking at candy) was a deep freeze with cold (ice cream) type goodies.  It was a child's delight!  Now they did sell groceries and had a meat market that went all the way across the back of the store.  We didn't buy groceries there very often, as Mom said they were too expensive!  Once in a great while Mom would send me for something.
BUT, that candy counter always enticed us kids and we walked there any chance we got.
The counter at Slick's was probably twice as wide as the one in this picture and had more shelves.  We would stand there for what seemed forever trying to decide how to spend a nickel or a dime.  You always seemed to leave with a little bag full of goodies.  Some items were even 2/.01.  I do say this is a favorite memory of mine.
Poor Mrs. Slick would stand there (looking much like the fellow in the picture) waiting for us to decide.
Once in a great while Mom and Daddy would give me a nickel - which seemed like a lot then (I guess it was).  IF I was truly lucky - I would find pennies or a nickel while out playing (in gravel on the side of road) or walking to a friends house.  Once in a blue moon - you might find a glass pop bottle tossed at the side of the road and we would take those and cash them in!
My aunt and uncle always gave me money for my little pocketbook when they visited too!!!!!!

I remember going to the circus a time or two and going to the zoo.  It was always fun to see the animals, but my favorite thing was getting rock candy!!!!!  Oh how I loved that stuff.  Sometimes it came in chunks and sometimes it was all crystalized on a stick or string.  Believe it or not - I still have a box with crystal type rock candy in my hutch.  My Mom had saved it (why I didn't eat it was a wonder) and I got it when clearing out the family house.  It sits proudly in my corner hutch!!  It says it was made in Antwerp Belgium!  Crazy.
I still love rock candy to this day.  It is really easy to make and you can add all kinds of flavors.
I think rock candy would be a fun treat for Valentine's Day.  You could make up a couple different flavors - crack - wrap and gift.    How cute it would be wrapped in a small brown paper bag with jute or raffia tie.  Simple and fun.  Just an old fashioned  fun treat!

YUM!!!!!!  I think the plain candy and cinnamon were my favorites and still are.

So there you have a memory from my childhood and a fun treat you can make and make a memory for someone else!

(anyone else remember the old candy counters?)


  1. We, too had a local family-owned grocery that was widely known for its butcher shop and excellent sausages, bologna, and various meats. It was literally 4 houses up the road from ours and we did all our shopping there. Mom would send us with a list and we'd pull our red wagon along to bring the groceries home.

    They did not have a candy counter but a 6-ft section, 4 shelves high, dedicated to candy--penny and candy bars. And like your store, directly across from the candy was a freezer that held popsicles, Good Humors, and all sorts of frozen summer treats. It was positioned right by the checkout counter. We didn't have to bother a store clerk to make our selections (they could keep a watchful eye on us from the register), but I can tell you we took forever to spend 5 cents, we were such careful little shoppers! Always looking for the most candy for the pennies, LOL. And the little brown bags to carry our loot home seemed wondrous to me--little bags made especially for children's shopping! I always kept mine and carefully pressed them flat, ready to hold any of my Really Important Stuff.

    The best deal on candies--2 pieces for 1 penny--were not always favorites--Bit o'Honeys, Mary Janes, root beer barrels, tiny Dum-Dums lollies, & Safe-t Pops (they had a looped string instead of a stick--remember?) were best left on the shelf. But if you had a serious sugar craving that required quantity over quality, Tiny Tootsie Rolls, Smarties, & Fralinger's Salt Water Taffy rolls could fill the need cheaply. Funny how my tastes have changed and now I love Mary Janes and Bit o' Honeys!

    Having a grocery store that we could walk to, in our very rural location ("town" was 2 interseting roads; one of them a highway), was a true luxury and us kids never missed a chance to go, money or not. Whether or not candy was involved (and it seemed we could always scrape up or beg Mom for a penny), going to the store to get something for mom was always an adventure!

    What a nice memory--thanks for letting us share, Cheryl!

    1. Love your story. How cool you got to go and take your wagon to pick up the groceries. Bit O Honey is still a favorite of mine - and the Safe T pops lollipops. I always wanted to get the plastic lips and plastic bottles with fruit drink in them. They were usually around Halloween.
      I remember that the freezer had giant push up popsicles. They were huge and I think cost about 10 cents.

      I bet you had a ball getting to go to the store and acting all grown up! What wonderful adventures.
      Thank you so much for sharing your story!!! I love these kind of stories.

  2. I so remember penny candy. I liked the Mexican hats that were 2 for a penny. How long we would drool over that case before deciding what we wanted. The little brown sacks we would clutch on the way home. Sharing a piece or two with a friend. Good times.

    1. I don't remember Mexican hats. It was such a slow and happy time. Simple things made us happy.
      Yep, clutching those little bags with pride at what we had bought.
      Good times for sure.

  3. I can do you one better. My grandmother had a store! We lived about 90 miles from her and loved to visit. We knew she would give us candy when we left. I cannot remember ever having candy while there. But, I am sure we did.

    The candy counter had a glass front and was much longer than the one in the picture. There was an ice cream case, too.

    My first memory was when I was three. My mother left me and my three-month-old sister with Memaw while she took my two-year-old brother to go to a funeral in Paducah, Ky. She took me from Memphis, TN to New Albany, MS to stay for a week. I would mind and my sister could not move...lol. My 2 yo brother was the one who needed minding by Mama.

    One day she gave me an ice cream on a stick. I ripped off the paper and promptly dropped it on the floor. She told me several times to pick it up and I refused. Finally, she pulled me to the paper, took my hand and made my hand pick the wrapper up. I remember being so embarrassed, just knowing she would tell Mama who would be so disappointed I gave Memaw a problem. She did not tell.

    When we all visited, just before we walked out the door, Memaw would let us pick out 10 cents worth of candy. She put it in the tiniest little paper bags. I like the bag as well as the candy. By this time, there were four of us kids in the family.

    I always got Tootsie Rolls because they last longer. Soon, I was the only child in the car with candy and my three siblings were envious.

    Even though I knew Tootsie Rolls were the best bargain, I did choose Chick-o-Sticks They were crunchy and very sweet. My heart was with Tootsie Rolls and still is. These Tootsie Rolls were not the tiny ones; they were about three inches long and fatter than the ones today.

    When I stayed with Memaw, it was in 1949. She had the store until 1959, I think. Actually, my uncle owned the store, and my Memaw tended it day to day. She lived in three rooms on the back. One room was very long with kitchn and huge table for eating. Her bedroom was large, and so was the living room where was the door to the store. Uncle George stocked and handled all the business dealings.

    1. For some reason, I could type my comment but the screen quit movving and my words were hidden. I see i wrote quite a bit, maybe too much. To continue:

      On the way home in the back seat of the car, my siblings wanted some of my candy after they quickly finished theirs. I never, ever gave up my candy. I pointed out while they were choosing that their candy that it would not last long, and i was not giving up mine. Then, i tried to get them to eat slowly. They stuffed in one piece after another. I ate the Tootsie roll slowly, biting off small pieces and waiting a while between finishing one piece and opening another. So, i was set. I suppose it was a power thing. Plus, i had to maintain my place as the oldest...lol.

      I miss my grandmother and her store. I was fascinated with the shelves of cans and the old manual cash registers with the many buttons and the handle that was on the side to be pulled down to register the purchase.

      School supplies were behind the cash register. From a young age, before school age, i noticed the Right Write spiral notebooks.

      No matter how many times over the years i visited with her, it was always fascinating.

    2. Parsimony, us kids would not have been able to handle the glory of having a relative who owned a store!

      We were already pretty insufferable about our Uncle in the Big City who was a supervisor (Management! Unthinkable!) at Schlitz. He and my aunt and cousins would come "up North" were we lived for visits and Uncle would bring my dad a free case or two of beer, which Uncle got free every pay period as a bonus. My dad was super impressed and never failed to talk up his white-collar brother. My goodness we were hicks to the hilt. But that's okay, we were proud to have "fancy" relatives who climbed the ladder of success! Even if that ladder was really a keg! LOL!

    3. We were pretty impressed! Oh, Mama would not have wanted Daddy to get beer as he had a problem, a big one.

    4. OK I can just see this little persnickety child sitting there slowly eating her candy and making the others suffer because they had no patience. That is so funny.
      Oh my, I can't even imagine having a relative with a store. That would have been awesome.
      You were a pretty smart kiddo to have figured out which ones lasted longer.
      Hey being the big sis had to have some perks!!!! LOL
      What a wonderful memory and a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing.

    5. SUE that is so funny. The white collar ladder of success. I love the reference to keg!!!!
      That was some bonus that they got. I guess it was a big deal back then. Isn't it funny the things we remember?
      They sure left some great memories in our heads.
      Thanks for sharing.

  4. We had a store in town, Henry's Book Store with shelves of penny candy at the till. Since we lived on the farm, Saturday was our town day with mom getting groceries. My sibs and I (three of us) were allowed to go the movie theatre (15cent admission, 10 cent popcorn) and then to Henry's after the movie. I don't remember how much money we had, I know it wasn't much. But like others have mentioned our candies game in a small bag.

    Once we'd picked out our treats we'd go find the car in front of the grocery store. We usually went to the library as well, so would wait for our parents with our treats and books.

    If memory serves my favorite candy were licorice strings. All the flavors except the black.

    1. It is just amazing at the freedom that was given to kids back in the day, and no one was ever worried about any kind of trouble. I don't think I would let a child go to the movie alone today!
      Those little brown bags sure left their mark on our memories.
      That is neat, a movie, treats from the store and the library. I bet you thought that was the best day ever.

      I still like all licorice EXCEPT black.
      Thanks for the fun story.

  5. We had a newsagent/tobaconist/sweetshop run by Mr. Goldie. Dad called it Goldies goldmine! We took ages to spend the odd coppers we got. There were rows and rows of big sweet jars and 3d could buy 2oz of most of them but it was agonizing choosing. There were quite a few sweets 4 for a penny so even that took some time deciding. Lovely memories so thank you for that.

    1. Oh how neat. One stop shop! It was agonizing - wasn't it?
      I just love that we are getting to see so many lovely stories. What fun memories.
      You are welcome

  6. Oh what fun memories! I'm glad you had a happy childhood. Thank you for sharing with us.
    I don't remember going to the candy counter. We had a Piggly Wiggly store and a Ben Franklin. I remember that Daddy was able to drive up, and they put the groceries in the back for you. Nowadays I have to bag my own groceries at Aldi or I have to use the self checkout at stores. I miss full service. Oh remember when they used to pump the gas for you?
    But I loved the Ben Franklin store. All sorts of treasures to be found. :D

    1. Thanks for the rock candy recipe. I don't think that I have ever tried it before.

    2. I still use full service at the store - so far I have refused to use the self-check. I hate them. I figure if I wanted to work - I would. At least offer me a discount for me doing the job of someone who is probably unemployed now.

      Ben Franklin stores were the best! The had everything you could want.
      You are welcome for the recipe.

    3. Full service gas stations were fantastic. We had an old style station close by till just a very few years ago. Gas was a few cents more, but I went now and then to support the proprietor.
      I miss those days.

  7. Loved buying penny candy.

    God bless.

    1. It sure was fun. Kids today have no idea what that would be like.

  8. We go to Zeb's in North Conway in NH. They still have the candy counter like that. The store has been there a long time. The candy costs more now but going into the store is like stepping back in time. We love it and go whenever we are up that way.

    1. Oh how fun. That would be a real treat. I would go too.

  9. we went to the Beverage Store about a block a away. I lived in the city. I remember the wooden floors and cabinets. on the left as soon as you walked in was the candy. Seemed liked shelves of candy. And tall cannisters on the top with pretzel sticks, licorice whips and marshmallow ice cream cones. on the left were the chips and stuff. Remeber a 5 cent bag of chips. I lived in an apartment and they actually recycled back then. Bottles and cans on one side. Garbage on the other. We used to raid the bottles and take them to the store for change. If you had .25 cent that would be a whole week's worth of candy. The ice cream freezer was next to the pop. Did you all have Sun Crest Pop? My favorite was the cream soda. Thank for the walk down memory lane.

    1. That sounds like a really neat place. Bottles were always a good money maker - when you could find them.
      How cool that they recycled. You must have had great patience and restraint if you could make the candy last a whole week!!!
      No on the Sun Crest - at least I never heard of it. Lot's of little bottles of Coke and Nehi. Oh how I loved all the flavors of Nehi. Grape was and is my favorite.
      Thanks for sharing and you are much welcome!

  10. Oh, yes, there was a store down home that had the penny candy....I bet I didn't get to buy from it half a dozen times even. But I made up for it when I moved here to Indiana. There was a little corner store not too far from Fran's...maybe 6 or 8 blocks, and he had penny candy. I used to stop by his shop every now and then on my way to work and would get one of those little tiny paper bags full...and take it to work and would share it with whoever wanted something. The one thing I remember getting was the Bit of Honey...we didn't have that as kids. But I know I got stuff that I had had as a kid, but right at this moment I cannot name a one. Actually all I can remember from childhood is these big peppermint balls...two for 1¢!

    1. That is too cute that even as an adult you were going to get your candy fix! What a neat story. How sweet of you to share.
      Bit O Honey are still yummy - although they are hard on the teeth.
      I bet when you did get candy as a kid it was surely a treat!
      Thanks for sharing.