The Neighborhood Candy Store


These blog posts are not excerpts from my pending book, Baby Boomer Reflections, but rather additional memories I’m having after writing the book. If you like these posts, please share them with your FaceBook friends.

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As I recall, and it’s getting increasingly more difficult to do that every day, getting candy became a frequent experience in elementary school. My parents would send me to school with a few cents in my lunch bucket. Sometime around noon, a teacher would accompany us, as so that we could cross the street in front of the school, to go into a house that had a store attached to it. I’m sure that store sold other things, but for sure, it sold “penny candy.” Penny candy meant you could generally buy one piece of candy for one cent. The term is still in vogue, and it applies to individually wrapped candy with a history of at least fifty years. The same candy is certainly a whole lot more expensive today.


The first of these individually wrapped by-the-piece candies were Tootsie Rolls in the late 1800s. Following quickly thereafter were Necco Wafer’s “Sweethearts,” and Hershey Kisses, chocolate’s first entry in the game. Next, came bottle caps, licorice, candy corn, bubble gum and jawbreakers.

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In addition to the neighborhood “Mom and Pop” stores, candy had been sold for years by small pharmacies, markets and special ice cream and candy stores. The F.W. Woolworth five and dime store had its own candy aisle, and that marketing ploy had a tremendous impact in putting candy on every main street in America.

Please enjoy my photomontage of the candy that was enjoyed and coveted by baby boomers and their families, and, please add your comments for everyone to read.

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Hangin’ Out At The Ice Cream Stand …


Remember back to when you or a friend had the keys to a car? Where did you go? My friends and I went to the drive-in! It was a great place to hang out, and you might even meet a member of the opposite sex.

There were different kinds of drive-ins from custard stands to burger joints to drive-ins with actual things to do, like miniature golf, a driving range and possibly even an arcade. How cool were we?

07-08-10-052 Driving Range

In rural America, local entrepreneurs served homemade ice cream and soft serve treats until the franchises of Dairy Queen and Tastee-Freeze, two Illinois operations, arrived on the scene. Dairy Queen is the older of the two having started in 1940, ten years before “Tee” and “Eff” began operations. During the summer months, many families planned their days around going to the custard stand together after dinner. You could get vanilla, chocolate or a swirl.

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The burger joints were also local “mom and pop” joints that existed in nearly every town and regional franchises in bigger towns.  Among the oldest of the “franchises” is White Castle, having been started in Kansas in 1921. After that delectable burger arrived, others followed, including Carl’s Jr. in 1941, McDonalds and In-N Out in 1948, Whataburger in 1950, Jack In The Box in 1951, Burger Chef and Burger King in 1954, and Hardees in 1960. I remember White Castles as being the most affordable, but not necessarily the gourmet’s choice.

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But we must go back to my local hangout, Romeos. Romeos had it all … besides all the aforementioned delicacies and the golf distractions, it also had frozen chocolate bananas and the best pizza and hot dogs on the planet … but as a friend recently told me, in those days, canned spaghetti tasted great.

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I rest my case!