Monday, August 23, 2010
"The Candy Store"
I'm sure we have all done it... looked at something and suddenly were overcome with waves of nostalgia. Memories long forgotten, suddenly overwhelming us.
That's exactly what happened to me.
What triggered it? Candy boxes of all things. Old,soiled candy boxes from the 1960's.
Almond Joy, Three Muskateers, Mars bars, Milk Shake and Baby Ruth. Memories came flooding back. You see, as a child, my grandfather owned a little "candy store" in Detroit. It was heaven! The store was right in a residential area, and the only store within blocks.
The building was two story. Grandma and Grandpa lived upstairs, an aunt and uncle lived in the small apartment behind the store. The store iteself faced the street, which encompassed the front and wrapped a corner. There even was a garden in the backyard, where we enjoyed tomatoes and berries all summer long.
From the early 1940s to the late 1960s Grandma and Grandpa owned the store. It wasn't a "candy store" of course, but that's what the children called it. In times way before "supermarkets," the store had an old fashioned meat counter and deli, grandpa would butcher the meat himself and wrap it in brown paper. They carried fresh milk, delivered daily in bottles as well as any soda pop you could imagine and a small line of basic groceries,canned goods and snacks.
Neighbors would come daily and select their meat for dinner that night. There were three wide long steps in a curve to the entrance of the store, and there was always someone sitting on the "stoop" drinking a Nehi and visiting with a neighbor.
Grandma manned the long counter and the cash register while Grandpa tended the meat counter. There were shelves stocked to the ceiling, but Gram had a long pole with little clamps on the end that would grab the item down for her.
My favorite section of the store was the long glass enclosed candy counter! Everything you could imagine, the entire top shelf were items for only a penny. Rolled licorice records. malted milk balls, smartees, jaw breakers, Mary Jane's, squirrels, tootsie rolls, suckers,candy dots on long strips of paper, bazooka bubble gum and my favorite ~ Teaberry gum.
Gram would stand patiently while the local children would take forever deciding what all they wanted with their pennies or a whole nickel, then gram would put all their favorites in a tiny brown paper sack.
And chocolate bars! So many different kinds! Since it was OUR grandparents store, we could have our choice of candy. Allowed only one candy bar a day, but any kind we wanted.
Oh how we all loved spending the night at Grandma's house! We'd "sweep" the store, or take out trash and be rewarded with a chocolate bar or extra treat. I'm sure we weren't much help, but were treated just the same. We'd also be allowed "pop", chips or ice cream during the sleep-overs.
A fun custom back then among children was to yell "dibbies" when anyone had anything. That meant if another child yelled dibbie as we came out of the store, we had to yell "no dibbie" first; or share our item. Most time we shared..lol.. and often we'd sit on the stoop and alternate licks of our ice cream or share a bag of chips with the other kids.
On Saturdays, Grandpa would go to the "warehouse" to get his weekly order of items for the store. Since it was near our house, he would always stop by on his way back.
Grandpa would arrive in his big Buick and open the trunk. We would run outside the minute we saw him pull up, knowing the trunk would be full. There would be boxes and boxes of candy. He would have every candy bar imaginable! We were each allowed a treat, and would select a candy bar.
I always chose my favorite, the "Milk Shake" bar.. it was a whipped chocolate malted milk inside, caramel and covered in milk chocolate, similar to today's Milky Way; but a richer malt chocolate.
I had completely forgotten the Milk Shake.. the candy bar has long been discontinued. Discovering the boxes brought back all the the memories and the fun times with my grandparents. Of course I bought the three of my favorites the shop owner had, and each time I go in my kitchen, I smile as I notice them and fondly remember my grandparents and the happy years in their "candy store".
My mother and I outside Grandpa's store, circa 1952