Few things bring as many wonderful memories to mind as when my dad took me on a trip to the candy store. I would slip my little hand into his and walk for 20 minutes to the sweet store of my dreams ..
It reminds me of when life was so much simpler: when I had my dad watching over and guiding me every day, when other people solved all of life's problems, and when pieces of candy were the only pick-me-up I needed for being bullied at school or not fitting in. It was just temporary but it was all the happiness I needed and could afford. The shop had posters of my favorites cartoon characters, like Smurfette and the Berenstein Bears, and had balloons, decorations, and toys strewn about.
The store was so colorful and promised endless tasty rewards at arm's length. I would save up my $2.00 allowance a few times a year so I could get my favorite candies. Although there were plenty of candies that sold for a penny each, my most loved sweets were 5 cents each. Jelly nougats were tender, chewy pieces of marshmallow-like goodness, filled with bursting bits of jelly beans. To this day these candies are one of my favorites. No stores around me sell them, even around the holidays.
The candy shop also made me feel like I was rich. Although we were somewhat poor when I was a kid, having $2.00 in a penny and nickel store brought a feeling of abundance few other places could provide. It's the same feeling you get as an adult when you don't have a lot of money but you know you can afford a couple of bags of goods from the dollar store.
Sometimes I would head for chocolates or coconut candies, but I went head over heels for my fruit slices. Flavors of watermelon, orange, cherry, lemon, and lime burst into the mouth with a jelly softness and a light tang, all rolled in a thin coat of granulated sugar. These confections are also hard for me to find locally, so I get myself a pack online when I get the craving.
I remember my great-grandmother telling me of how walking into the general store, full of new products, candies, and foods promised of better times than the day-to-day farm life that caused her struggle and strife. Her eyes would light up when she could afford a few sticks of peppermint candy, licorice, or caramels.
Sometimes the good old days were hard, but I would give anything to have the simpler times and small sweet rewards that came with it.
What about you? What is your favorite candy from childhood?