Dad and I were wandering around Mast General Store earlier this week. I was shuttling between the books and unique kitchen gadgets while Dad was downstairs—or so I thought. Suddenly, I heard his voice beckoning me to the toy corner. But it was not a toy that he wanted me to see. He had discovered the barrels of candy, many of which were from our childhood and yours.
Looking at the sweet treasures, I found myself remembering a certain little corner store down the street from my school called Martanciks. The big draw of that store was the candy, which we could buy for a penny.
I looked through the barrels at Mast General and saw they had the wax bottles of my youth. You’d bite off the top and spit it off, enabling you to drink in one of several multi-flavored “healthy” juices. They were much too small to quench your thirst, but nevertheless fun to drink.
Another favorite was the pixy stix—straw shaped sticks containing delicious sweet and sour powder. Yum! Score another for Mast General.
Continuing down the aisle I found a barrel filled with Bonomo Turkish Taffy, which was a thin, VERY chewy candy sold in at least four flavors—vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and banana. I was never a fan of that candy but I remember the commercial had a catchy tune. In today’s world of healthy eating and childhood obesity, I don’t think a candy commercial would work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jpw64PkCJn8
Bazooka Bubble gum was both delicious to chew and entertaining as well. Not only could you blow great bubbles with the nugget-shaped gum, but it came wrapped in paper containing your fortune and a comic. How cool was that!
One of the most popular items were the waxed lips and mustaches, which were not as fun as the bubble gum, but their demand was high because they could be both chewed and used as a disguise.
Then I spied your favorites, most of which we got at the cider mill down the street from our New Jersey house. I think the three of you enjoyed going into the country store and carefully selecting one of your favorite candies more than drinking the freshly-made cider. I found Swedish fish, gummi bears, airheads, nerds, smarties, and warheads.
Do my discoveries bring back fond memories of our walks to the mill? Do you crave any of those candies, or have your candy preferences become more sophisticated? These days I smile when I remember stopping by Martanciks on my way home from school, but I have no interest in trying any of my old favorites. For me, there is just nothing like a package of plain M&M’s to put a smile on my face.