Do You Remember Penny Candy?
It doesn’t exist anymore in its original form (behind a glass counter and each piece costing one cent) but if you search you can still find some of the originals that you recall as a kid.
Penny candy was the thing I lived for when I was growing up. Candy bars cost a nickel, a bag of chips and bottles of pop each cost a dime. But candy was cheap!
Here are my top ten penny candy memories:
Smarties: A roll of little candy discs (the size of a small Tums) it’s pure sugar wrapped in cellophane. They were a miniature version of Sweet Tarts, and my mom thought they resmelbed "pills" or aspirin so she rarely let us buy them. Considering how many pills our antion now pops every day, Mom was probably right.
Bubble gum: Bazooka was square and came wrapped in a comic strip, Double Bubble was a cylinder Shaped cube. Both gave your jaw a workout and coated your teeth.
Mary Jane and Squirrel: These two nut chews would pull loose baby teeth right out of your head. You can still find the peanut butter flavored Mary Jane’s at the dollar store and get about 10 in that one dollar bag. Squirrels were a caramel nut chew and a little softer than Mary Jane. I loved them both!
Peach Stones: Cherry flavored hard candies dusted with granulated sugar they were about the size of your typical cough drop but they claimed no medicinal value. The thing I most remember is that they were not individually wrapped. They just threw em in to the small paper bag along with licorice and pretzel logs and you hoped the clerk had washed their hands.
Wax lips and mustaches. The lips were cherry flavored, the black mustaches were licorice flavored. They were wax and you chewed them like gum. Or at least you tried to chew them like gum...It was like gnawing on a box of crayons. In fact a red and black Crayola probably had just about as much flavor.
Black Jacks: These were licorice flavored taffy candies wrapped in wax paper. Taffy was a big item in the world of penny candy. Brands like B-B-Bats and Domino's Turkish Taffy came in bigger sizes and usually cost 5 cents or more. So the smaller pieces that you could get for just a penny apiece were a welcome part of a good back of penny candy.
Jawbreakers: Whoever invented this “candy” is pure evil. Worst candy ever invented. I wonder how many kids choke to death on these damn things. Hundreds more lost teeth trying to crack them in half. To this day I never met a kid who ever finished a Jawbreaker. Usually after a week of sucking on one of those you either gave up and spit it out, or you died from choking on the damn thing.
Pixie Stix: This stuff was like cocaine for kids. It was pure sugar in powdered form. It came inside a paper straw. The only thing missing were the instructions on how to snort it. It is a well know fact of urban legend that every coke-fiend started off snorting pixie stix. I sneezed for a week.
Tootsie Roll‘s: they were downright boring until “Tootsie Roll Flavor Roles” were invented. God bless the Vanilla, lime and cherry Flavor Rolls for bringing diversity and acceptance to the candy counter. I like to think of Flavor Rolls as the Civil Rights movement of penny candy.
Kit’s: Another entry in the taffy category, the banana flavored squares called Kit’s were the forerunner of the “Now and Later” candies of the 70's and 80's. One of the features of these little blocks of candy is that you could never tell if they were "fresh" or stale. Every damn one was impossible to soften.
Yes you can still find many of these treats online if you search for them. But they are no better for your health now than they were then. So think twice before you stuff a bag full down your throat.