Yesterday, I posted comparing my sunburned complexion with Atomic Fireballs candy. Today, a comment on that post gave me the idea for today’s blog (can you say “Circle of Life”, Simba?). It also reminded me that I haven’t done a theme week in a while, so welcome to “Nostalgia Week”. Even you young whippersnappers may want to stick around to see what your parents (or, dare I say it, grandparents) were up to in “those days”.
Kicking off our theme, we’ll stay with candy and talk about my favorites from my wee youth. You didn’t need candy shops, per se, since you had drug stores. Not like Walgreen and CVS, mind you, these “back in the day” drug stores were local shops where you picked up all sorts of stuff (like comics, newspapers, small groceries and candy). Going there was a treat, especially since the candy was cheap and it was man-sized (hey, there was more chauvinism and less political correctness back then…check out Blazing Saddles). To make it a little easier to follow along, let’s break into some categories.
Seriously, what all-American boy didn’t love those powdery, 8-seconds of flavor sticks of gum in the back of their wax pack of baseball cards? Still good, months later (or still the same odd taste months later)!
Bazooka gum was cooler than Dubble-Bubble gum because it had the Bazooka Joe comic strips inside. You could start arguments big time over which gum tasted better, but you couldn’t argue about the comics.
Too young to smoke? Not with these babies! The original bubble gum cigarettes. The gum was midway between baseball card gum and Dubble-Bubble for lasting power and taste, but since everyone smoked in those days (it was cool…cancer hadn’t been created yet), you found lots of us carrying around these packs of future corruption.
The ultimate travel gum…assuming you were traveling less than 100 yards. These ultra-tiny versions of the classic colorful Chiclet gum (and shame on you if you’ve never had a pack of colorful Chiclets) was the gum version of the old Lay’s Potato Chips ad…”You couldn’t eat just one”. Really, you wouldn’t even notice just one, since it was about half the size of your pinky nail.
C’mon, tell me you haven’t tried this straw filled with powedered sourness! You break open the straw and pour it down your gullet and then pucker up for the next 10 or 20 seconds. I used to pour it into my palm and lick it off, feeling that it protected me from spills or choking, but I might have just been chicken.
I only like the grape flavor of this semi-chewy candy. Newbies may only know the tiny square that is around today, but in my time, the Now and Later was a serious piece of candy, capable of extended minutes of sour grapes.
The ultimate in sugar rush. I think only eating a sugar cube (for those of you who have never seen a sugar cube, too bad and for those of you who have never eaten them straight up…good for you!) could give you a more concentrated blast of sweetness. Of course, the “trick” with a sugar daddy was seeing just how long you could “pull” the caramel once you had it sufficiently softened. A great carry-around treat, if you remembered to save the wrapper.
They were odd. They were fun. They were colorful. They were pure sugar. Many a tummy ache was generated by these innocent looking little candy dots. Not to mention, these were an excellent source of fiber, considering all the shreds of paper you sometimes ended up eating along with the candy!
I wouldn’t want to skip the candy that prompted this blog. Again, in my youth, these suckers were big, like quarter-size big. The very center of these was sickly sweet, but you had to be a superhero to make it that far. The real test of a “true” atomic fireball eater was the person who could finish it without taking it out of your mouth. Trust me, not so easy!
For those who wanted hot in a more manageable size, I bring you Red Hots. These tiny glazed candies were super hot, but most people could handle one or two. Having the “hot food” gene from birth (thanks, Dad!), I used to pop a handful in my mouth at a time. Hoo boy!
Okay, now these were just weird. These little wax “bottles” were “filled” with juice-like liquid. I’m not sure the measurement, but it might be counted in eye-drops. You had to bite off the wax top and drink (perhaps an overstatement) down the liquid. Length of enjoyment: fraction of a second.
The close…the best candy bar ever?
Ah, the Chunky. Again, remember to ramp up the size from any puny thing you see today. Take your best chocolate, mix in some nuts and raisins and you get the best of Raisinets and Goobers all in one bar! And dentists loved these things…there must have been more kids chipping teeth trying to bite into Chunky bars than in all other childhood activities combined!
I’m sure you have your own favorites from your youth. Heck I didn’t even get to Burnt Peanuts and Boston Baked Beans! Have fun reminiscing about all those fun candies!