With a single dollar, we were sent off with a very short list. It was usually bread, milk, and a pack of Tareyton cigarettes for Dad.
It was the favorite chore. The trip to the Mom and Pop grocery store.
There was one on just about every corner.
It was a throwback to the time when supermarkets were just taking hold in small town America.
They only sold the basics, and at the time, that included penny candy.
There wasn’t much change from that dollar, usually less than a dime, but we were allowed to keep it, or use it on penny candy.
We seldom kept it.
I love this painting, done by an artist who studied Norman Rockwell, and used on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post.
The candy was different, but the expression on the ever patient storekeeper is priceless, a study in patience.
Armed with a small paper bag, he waited while we made some very important decisions.
Bit O’Honey, MaryJane, Bazooka Bubble Gum, Tootsie Roll, Necco Wafers, Turkish Taffy, JujyFruit, Pixy Sticks.
Peppermint sticks, butterscotch disks, caramel creams, licorice whips, candy cigarettes, wax lips, candy buttons on a paper strip, elastic candy necklaces, marshmallow “ice cream” cones.
One favorite was Nik L Nip, small wax bottles filled with sugary juice of undetermined content.
It’s a pretty sweet memory of a very different era.
Except for the popular bodega that you see in urban areas, the small grocery store has gone by the wayside.
So has the concept of sending a child alone on a quest for just about anything.
And that’s too bad.
This is beautiful and brings back memories of Indian Petti Kadais. I did a post on this sometime back.
Kadais…meaning candy ? Thanks so much, Nimi, it was sweet in any language. ☺
Kadai means shop …sharing the link to my post
Thanks for the link. 💝 A great post, love the nostalgia pieces, Nimi.
Thank you so much
I remember those little wax bottles of “undetermined content!” I remember chewing on the wax after drinking the liquid! What a blast from the past this post is, Van! And yes, it sure is sad that kids don’t have the freedom to go on those quests anymore. I was one who played outside from morning until night… grateful I have those memories. Hope you are well. xo
I chewed on that wax too, getting all the sugary flavor until it was gone. ☺ We had so much more freedom as kids, and our families knew everyone in the neighborhood. That allowed for safe wandering at the time. Thanks, Kelly. 💖
Yes, knew everyone even a few streets away. I grew up in a rural area and would walk to a small store by my neighborhood to buy sticks of candy in different flavors. Thanks for the memories. xo
My pleasure. Have a great day, Kelly. ☺
You too, dear friend! Just walking out the door to take my son to school! 🙂
Blimey how do you remember all those sweets? Lovely picture mind you.
My parents didn’t keep candy in the house, Geoff, not ever. So this stuff was special to us, locked in happy memory banks. ☺
Ditto. We only had sweets when one of my grandmas came to stay though we could walk to school and spend our 2 penny bus fare in sweets. Four chews for one penny, either a liquorish one or a fruit salad that was yellow and red like rhubarb and custard. Or, now I think about it 2 pennies got you a packet of ten sweet cigarettes that often had cards. I collected a Thunderbird set some time in the 1960s only failing to get the yellow Thunderbird Four. Happy days.
Wow. I don’t remember trading cards in those candy cigarettes. That would have been a bonus. Sorry about your missing Thunderbird. 😡
We had one such place in our very small town. It didn’t sell food, but a variety of things like tools, and other stuff for the house. They had those big glass jars on the counter. The lady who ran the place was a real grouch so I only went in there a few times. Red licorice was the favorite. Kids ran (or rode bikes) all over the place back then. Those days are long gone.
Most of the store folks I remember were pretty friendly to us, they knew our parents were their customers. On bikes, roller skates, even barefoot, we were always outside, Julie. I drove through my old neighborhood recently on a sunny, summer day…no evidence of children, anywhere. Times have changed, for sure. I blame Sega, Nintendo, etc. ☺
I do miss that time. My mom and dad owned one of those mom and pop neighborhood grocery stores where everyone seemed to congregate, tell stories or catch up. Then the supermarkets came and he was forced out of business. I remember those penny candies very well. I sold some but ate more😊.
It was a very special time.
Envy alert ! I can’t imagine having access to that stuff on a daily basis. Very sweet memory, George. Thanks for sharing. 💖
you forgot the candy cigarettes for us.
Check again, Jim, they are in there. ☺☺☺
I’ll blame my eyesight for missing them. it was probably caused by that sugary substance in those wax soda bottles.
Ha ha. Every parent I knew smoked back then. The candy cigarettes were very popular. 💝 As were the bubble gum cigars !
yeh but that was back in the day of B&W TV, really big cars, gas wars, Mercurochrome and such. we all managed to survive and come out kinda sorta OK.
And Coppertone sun burns, cars without seat belts, bicycles without helmets, lack of hand sanitizers, etc.
A great post, Van! The painting, the penny candy and the concept of your child being safe to go to the store alone at such a young age are priceless.
For sure. Thanks, Rob. 💛 💙 💜
I can’t even imagine shopping with $1. Even the dollar store would cost more than $1 after tax for the one item. But I do remember the wax bottles… They were sold in a candy shop on a pier at the lake we boated on when I was a kid. My mom used to buy those or candy dots for me.
You can find them today at those retro candy counters, but they will cost you a lot more than a penny. $$$ ☺
I remember buying penny candy at the local corner store with the change leftover from my errand. I also remember my childhood freedom to roam. It was such a different time to grow up. A great post btw. 🙂
We had our own problems, but life seemed a bit less complicated, Brenda. Glad you could relate. Thanks. 💜
It certainly did. The world has changed so much for today’s youth.
Your post brought back memories. Wonderful! 😊
Good to know, Tonya. 💖 Thank you.
I remember walking to the local store just a few blocks as well. My grandmother smoked the Tareytons. I think they were about .50 cents a pack back then. Good memories and a good time to grow up.
My first memory of Tareyton (late 1950’s) was at .35, bread was .20, milk .30 to .40. It didn’t leave much, but it was enough. ☺ Thanks for the visit. 💝
That really touches and stirs a lot of special childhood memories.
Happy to hear, Charlie. Thanks so much. ☺
This brought back memories of the penny sweet counter at Henderson’s newsagents in the town I grew up in, Van. Some of the delights I got there were flying saucers, Catherine wheels, fruit salads, cola bottles, palma violets, gobstoppers, and Bazooka Joe bubble gum. There was so much choice and a penny went a long way on those days.
Not sure of those Catherine wheels ? But most others are familiar. Nice to see you, Hugh. We miss you here on WP. Hope you’re well. 💕
Here’s a link to what they look like, Van.
I’m back to blogging now until I get the book back from my editor. She’s doing the final check for me. Just a few more things to do and it will all be ready. 😀
Hope all is well with you?
We had them, we just didn’t use the term Catherine. ☺ Thanks, Hugh. Glad to hear about your book. Welcome back. ❤️ 💛 💙
Such sweet memories indeed!! Although we had different names for our sweeties, the sound very alike 💛 We had cards in our cigarettes, and my brother and I would fight over them!
Thanks for taking me down memory lane Van 💕
Our bubble gum had trading cards, I was surprised to hear that they came in your candy cigs. ☺ Glad you enjoyed, Val. 💕
I too used to love the reward treat of some penny candy. Since we had ha’pennies when I was growing up too, one could stretch the budget and end up with quite a good way packet full (or a poke as we call a paper bag in Scots). Our local shop kept the penny and ha’penny sweeties in wooden drawers and the shopkeeper would pull them out and we would make selections from the various pigeonholes they contained.
Wooden drawers…that’s interesting. Ours were encased in glass, with sticky child-sized finger smears on the front. ☺ I take it the he’penny no longer exists ? Thanks for sharing your memories, Laura. 💖
Yes, the half penny was withdrawn from circulation in 1984 (or thereabouts) for the same reason that there’s always chatter about getting rid of pennies. The wooden drawers would never pass Health and Safety legislation now. I did so love the reveal of those drawers being slid open though. Better yet was when my Gran would treat me to a quarter pound of some sort of boiled sweeties from a shop that had not evolved since Edwardian times. Rows of glass jars on shelves and weighing scales with the lead weights. That was magical. I always had soor plooms or Parma violets.
Imagine that vendor not using plastic gloves to dispense goodies, and no hand sanitizer in sight. Yet, we all survived. I’ve never had that violet candy. Interesting.
It’s very perfumery and aromatic. Some people really don’t like that but I loved them. They were a sort of pyramid shape and a lovely mauve colour. Soor plooms were green balls tasting of very sour apple.
That’s one I don’t remember seeing here in the US. ☺
I obviously don’t know the history of American confectionary to be able to know.
This post brought back great memories, Van. 🙂 My parents used to give my brothers and me each a quarter. We would walk a mile to the general store and a mile back for our candy. It was great. It didn’t occur to me for years that my parents probably enjoyed the time as much as we did!
That’s quite a walk for the candy, and you’re right, D., it gave your parents a break. Win-win ! ☺ We would ride our bikes for miles along country roads, gather discarded soda bottles with a 2 cent deposit, collect enough to pay for a single ice cream cone, then ride back. It took hours. Simple joys. ❤️ 💛 💙
They were simple joys. Great memories 🙂
My Grampa saved his pennies and when we came for summer break he gave us each some, we rolled them and walked down the hill, bought penny candy! wow you brought it all back! lovely
A roll of pennies would go a long way, Lynn. I’m trying to picture the sugar “high”. Grandparents…adorable. 💝
hahaha I know you are so right! xx
😰 😰 😰
So many wonderful things lost to time and “progress”.
We came across an amazing little candy store, set up for just this purpose. Adults, who want memories sparked, or little ones to have this fun. It was FULL of candy barrels and glass candy jars. ANd people behind the counter….waiting. 🙂 It made me happy. I just wish I could remember where it was…
It seems like a formula for success there, Colleen. Sweet. 🍬 🍭
Agreed, Van. Great memories today’s children are denied.
Their world…so different. Thanks, Derrick.
As I read your piece, I was a 7 year old again, in the little store “down street” (as we used to say in Pittsburgh) trying to decide how to spend that precious nickel. If I recall, you could actually get two pieces of some candies for a penny. Because my mother was a single working parent, we didn’t have much money so I would always try to make that nickel go as far as it would go and get as much candy as I could for it… Interesting how that has carried with me into adulthood! I still love twofers! Ha! As Bob Hope sang, “Thanks of the memories!” Van!
I’m no Bob Hope, but you’re most welcome, AGMA. My husband also talks of getting “chocolate pop” at the corner store. ☺
That was the best, the riches of a few pennies.
Absolutely. And we fought over who got to go to the store. ☺
I too remember those trips to the store. But I do think the biggest loss to our kids and to society as a whole is the loss of independence for kids. We keep them in our sight until the day they are 16 and we hand them the car keys.
Yep. And there’s a certain irony to that, isn’t there ??? With GPS, there are new ways to monitor those teen drivers. ☺ Thanks, Elyse.
We didn’t have them over here or at least I never remembered those bottles, but I do remember going to get sweets for one penny.. xxx
Wonderful Van.. brought back some lovely memories of the sweet shop across the road.
You were one of the lucky ones, Sally…across the road. 💖 Thanks.
Have included in the Mention in Dispatches tomorrow Van.. I am sure many can relate to it.. xx
It has stirred a few sweet memories, and that’s always special. Thanks, Sally. ❤️ Hugs.
Such wonderful memories, Van! As a kid in the 40s I had 5 cents a week to buy penny candy (Mary Janes, Bit o Honey) at the general store down the street. Such a long time ago! Have a wonder-filled weekend! 💛 Elizabeth
Five cents must have seemed like quite a lot for you, and it was guaranteed every week ?? Wonderful. Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth. 💘
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Thank you, Sally. Proud to be included in that list. 💕
Oh life in a small town, where my father kept a tab, where I walked down to fetch food, drink, and cigarettes almost daily for about three years of my young life. I could buy lots of candy for a dollar then, which is why I could never put candy on the tab, but bought it with quarters I earned pulling weeds or sweeping porches for our neighbors. Candy cigarettes and yes, wax bottles of sweet nectar, but for me, mostly Boston baked beans and red hots.
What a nice memory 🙂
Interesting time when they sold cigs to children. ☺ My boxed candy favorites were Sno-Caps…loved that dark chocolate. Thanks, Joey. 💖
$1.05 a pack then. I didn’t smoke til I was 22. Now I think a pack is like $6? I dunno, glad I quit. Certainly glad I didn’t start as a child! Phew!
Thanks for the sweet memories, Van. Shared this bit of nostalgia for a lost era ❤
Glad you enjoyed, Tina. Thanks for visiting. 💝
i remember candy necklaces and sweet tart things…always seem to cut my tongue…one does wonder what the liquid was in those tiny bottles…my love for our local candy store ended when i was five(ish)…i pinched a one cent bubble gum with a friend…got caught…never went back…funny memory now…not then 😀
Every family seems to have a story of a child shoplifting candy…and the humiliation of having to take it back, once caught by a parent, or after a guilty confession. 💘 I understand.
oh yes my parents made me go back and apologize I remember the feelings in my body…sheer fear…😳 and I never returned…smiles and yes family stories as the black sheep 😉
My favorite part of visiting grandma’s was getting a dollar for the penny candy counter. Red licorice whips were my absolute fave!!
Never a fan of licorice, I seemed to prefer to chew on wax ???? ☺☺
My goodness, you transport me back to the time when we ran errands and earned pennies or kobos to buy goody-goody candy, Chat sweets, and Bazooka Joe. It’s so unfortunate that one can’t send their young one’s on errands these days. Gone are the days. Beautiful memories.
Happy to take you there, J.☺ And, so sad about how times have changed. There was a woman here in Washington DC who was arrested for letting her kids walk to a neighborhood park alone. We’ve gone too far in the other direction.