essays

I Want Candy - Or Back to the Sweet Life

fizziesSeeing all those videos on YouTube with people adding Mentos candy to liters of Coke and Pepsi to turn them into literal pop rockets got me thinking again about the candy of my youth. Specifically, I got in the way back machine to the days when we thought if we put enough Fizzies in our mouth or some enclosed space and then added water, that it would be “more fun than a flood in a Fizzie factory.”

wax bottlesFrom there it’s a short leap to Wax Lips and don’t forget those weird Wax Bottles. When you think of just one guilty pleasure, your mind leap frogs to all of the pleasures of our youth. It’s like a roll call of the greatest hits of the 50’s and 60’s. Some of my favorites were Squirrel Nut Zippers (I never got the name), wax lipsBit-O-Honey, Boston Baked Beans, Chocolate Babies, Root Beer Barrels (perfect for dropping from the old movie theatre balcony on on unsuspecting bald man), Charleston Chews, Atomic Fireballs, and Sno-Caps, to name just a few. It’s amazing that I still have almost all my teeth.

We would search the sofa and the easy chairs (even the rear seat of the car if we were really desperate) for loose change that we could spend at the corner market. I don’t remember how much anything cost, but it couldn’t have been much, because 35 cents in change got us a whole pocketfuls of candy, most of which was consumed before we got home. The concept of squirrel nutsdeferred gratification was not on our radar at that point. Plus, we could not be caught with all that candy in the house, so that meant we had to eat it all until our stomachs hurt. When dinner time came, there were a lot of kids in the bit o honeyneighborhood moaning that weren’t very hungry.

Trips to the movie theatre meant that we got a limited budget for popcorn and candy. I usually went for the Jordan Almonds because the outer coating gave you such a nice sugar rush that you could combine with the texture of the almonds. It was a revelation that they could be served as party food when our parents had company over to the house. If you kept hitting the same bowl of Jordan Almonds, the trick was to keep rearranging the candies so it didn’t look empty.

Now there are plenty of entrepreneurs happy to have us nostalgic for our candy favorites. Sweet Nostalgia, Groovy Candies and Hometown Favorites can all satisfy your jones for sugar.

Just try to eat it all in the car so you don’t get caught with it in the house.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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