Growing up, Saturday was haircut day for my father. My sister and I loved to tag along to the Barber Shop. We didn’t go because we liked to hang out with a bunch of old guys, we went because Ben Franklin was next door and they sold penny candy. If you’re not familiar with the concept, penny candy was sold as individual pieces, rather than a larger package.
The cashier provided me and my sister with a brown lunch bag. Once my father gave us each fifty cents, we were set. I remember the excitement I felt as I strolled down the aisle. My eyes scanned the bins that held a variety of candies, so many choices for a child.
One of my favorite candies was the Jolly Rancher. It was a hard and somewhat sticky candy. It came in a variety of flavors of grape, apple, cherry, watermelon and raspberry. Cherry was the best.
Smarties were another favorite. The small pastel colored wafers tasted sweet at first, but then they tasted tart. The great thing about using one penny to purchase Smarties was that each roll had around fifteen or so wafers. Even as a child, I was a smart shopper.
Despite all of the mouth-watering and cavity causing candies to choose from, the majority of my fifty cents went toward my all-time favorite candy, the Atomic Fireball. This candy would set your mouth on fire. I remember having contests with my sister and friends to see who could hold it in their mouth the longest. To say Fireballs were hot was an understatement, but if you could survive the heat, you arrived at a sweet layer of rock hard sugar.
The days of penny candy have long passed, but the memories remain. I still enjoy an occasional Fireball now and then, but they don’t seem as hot as when I was a kid.
Did you have a favorite candy as a kid?