What’s a Kid Got to do to Get Some Candy Around Here

Posted on by 0 comment

The other day my youngest daughter Lisa and I were working together bagging the abundant supply of maple leaves from our huge tree (about twenty bags in all). After all that work and bonding time with my daughter, I was tired and a little sore. Things aren’t quite as easy at sixty years old as they once were.

That made me think. I remember my early days living with my parents back in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Back in the mid1960s, between the ages of about ten and fourteen I got a quarter or maybe fifty cents a week allowance. I had no real expenses so that was fine. My most frequent use for my funds was my very favorite food, candy. You would think 25 cents couldn’t buy a lot of candy. But you have to remember that back then most candy bars (chunky, Hersey’s, Baby Ruth) were only five cents. I, however, wasn’t interested in those bars. My great allowance day ritual included about a mile long bike ride to the pet store. After spending abundant time petting the puppies, kitties, and Guiney pigs, I would take a tour of the exotic fish and reptiles. At the end of the tour, I got to the glass cases at the front of the store. These cases were filed with a myriad of yummy treats known as penny candies. They were actually priced between one and five cents. You could get wax lips, candy necklaces, giant jaw breakers (I know why they are called that), salted sunflower seeds, malted milk balls, black and red licorice, gum balls and many more too numerous to mention.

My allowance days were great, however, they were never enough. While it may be true that boy does not live on candy alone, I always wanted to test that theory. I needed additional funding to test my theory. When frequent attempts to upgrade my allowance failed, I was forced to desperate measures. I found work. I would go from door to door asking for jobs. I spent at least some of my spare time those early years mowing lawns, raking leaves, and shoveling snow. I was young and strong and could work in any weather.

Unlike the other day, I never remember getting sore or tired enough to stop before the job was done. When the work was done, after a clothing change and warm up in the winter, I would gather remaining energy to ride or walk to gather my true reward. Somehow, when I had to work for it, that candy tasted a little sweeter.

That leads me to my present question. Where have all of the penny candies gone? Also, and more pertinent to my present needs, where have all of the entrepreneurial youths gone? I’ve got leaves, snow, and a lawn. Maybe the problem is security. Times aren’t as safe as they used to be. Possibly the lack of willing child labor is a motivation problem. Today it seems that whiney complaining children have money thrown at them instead of being handed a rake and shown the door.

I know I sound cynical and that’s not really who I am. Blame it on my sore back. So let’s just say the problem is the lack of pet stores selling penny candies. Those candy days and the memories associated were some of my fondest of my childhood.

Fall 2014 011

There is Lisa. She loves blowing leaves and listening to tunes.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.