The Corner Candy Store
Part I: Penny Candy
I lived next to the “corner store,” an institution among the Jewish and other ethnic neighborhoods in metropolitan New York. Esther and Isaac of wrinkled brow and stooped shoulders worked six days a week, morning to night, spelling each other for meals and necessary breaks. They kept vigilance against the rascal who tried to pilfer a Three Musketeers Bar or a package of Hostess Twinkies. “Eh, Eh, Get out from here, you little shvants!”
My child’s mind yearned for the fabulous delicacies in Isaac’s store, the ones arrayed behind the glass case, safely protected from grubby hands, the myriad of penny candies. We bit off the necks of wax coke bottles and spit them far into the air to suck the oozy sweetness from the bottle. After that it was good for a chew and a final spit- out.
I liked the two-inch wide strips of white paper about a yard long with four rows of pink, blue, yellow and green hard sugar dots. They suited my meticulous style. I folded the paper back beneath the dot to release an edge and then finagled it off between my tongue and upper lip. I sucked until it disappeared, while planning to leave a design of colored dots on the paper to admire and save for last. My impetuous friend Betty inevitably disturbed this plan after she scarfed her own dots and then peered hungrily at my pattern, forcing me to make a difficult choice.
Candy cigarettes with their red tips of fire were always fun. Before smoking was taboo, it was cute to see little children imitating their parents. Candy gumballs, sweet wax lips, Bazooka gum, wiggly worms, and wax milk bottles had their draw as well.
Come back for more about Isaac and Esther’s candy store.