"The Wondering Jew"
Jan. 27, 2004 - 18:12 MST
THE WONDERING JEW
Back then each day was sparkly new, bright and shiny and there were so many things of interest that bedtime came before I was done with it all.
Early on I managed to scrounge and earn a penny here and there. I had places to spend more than I had in my pocket so I settled for what my pennies would buy and wished that some day my ideal situation would occur. But if it had I probably would have been dead of overconsumption of the no-nos of childhood.
Mom and Pop stores in our neighborhood had big displays of penny and nickle candy and when a penny in pocket got hot and burny I would find myself in front of all the goodies in the world it seemed.
Some of my favorites were Holloway's Milk Duds. They provided both entertainment and sweet nourishment. Nowadays I think they are still with us but back then in the penny candy every now and then would be a Milk Dud with a white center. That provided another Dud to my pile. Gambling at an early age yet. Caramel good which lasted fairly long.
Jawbreakers of all sorts and sizes. One thing guaranteed was they would last indefinitely, but were usually gone by supper time.
I remember the red pillow shaped suckers that had a licorice root for the stick. Sucker lasted pretty well, but the licorice root could be chewed for a long time. I'm still spoiled, I have a bag of herb tea made from licorice root and brew up a cup now and then.
Then those long licorice whips which were pretty good and lasted well and had the advantage of giving a circle of black around one's lips. There were red whips too, but I liked the licorice too well to even try one of those red ones.
For the novelty I would spend pennies on those wax bottles that had a miniscule amount of liquid because I could chew the wax for a long time.
Then bubble gum came along, that was for out-of-school recreational chewing, didn't take long to learn the tensile strength of the material to avoid a blast of bursting bubble coating lips and chin and sometimes more. For purposes where I needed to keep my gum hid and jaws still while in class there were the Wrigley's confections, Black Jack, Juicy Fruit, Spearmint and Doublemint gums. A penny a stick, a pack of five for nickle. Made some strong jaw muscles.
There was a huge variety of penny candy at the stores, and a turn of the whim would make me choose one of these and one of those. Gee 50 whole cents could get a bag of 50 pieces of candy.
Late in my childhood came the "Safety Pops," Lollipops called I think, "Paloops" their stick was looped twisted fiber. A kid would have to try hard to get hurt on one of those softies.
When I had made what I considered a bunch of money, then came the nickle candy, Mars Bars, Snickers, Milky Way, Baby Ruth, Peter Paul's Mounds or his Almond Joys with almonds on top, two of either to a pack. That was living high for this kid.
It took nickles or more at the novelty store, first were trips to make for caps. Christmas and birthday cap guns with caps were great. But the caps didn't last very long the way I barreled along, shooting most everything. Gosh, the smell of cap shooting remains in my memory so strong. So my errand running and jobs at home above and beyond my chores extended to gaining enough stuff to go to the novelty store. Later on it was BB's for my BB gun, or one of those rubber-band propellor planes the frame of wire and the wings covered in taut fabric, they lasted pretty well, I needed a bit of financial help from Mom for one of those. Kites and string, Yo-yos, tops of many varieties. However, at the local stores one could buy cheaply those Guillows gliders of thin balsa wood, coming in four pieces, two for the tail and one long piece for the wing and a thicker piece for the body. The wing could be slid back and forth in its slot to produce different characteristics of flight. One position would produce a nice loop I remember that. Tootsietoy cars of cast lead (I think) or pot metal could be bought there or the dime stores. About the size of the present day Match Box Cars, they were. Of course there were other fads of things at the novelty store but weren't interesting enough for me.
Along about that time being a bit older, the hardware store then became the goal for me or, depending on pennies possessed the store for penny candy and if I had enough sometimes something from the hardware and maybe candy purchased with my change. Nuts and bolts, nails, brads and various pieces of strap iron and stove wire were prime to me about that time and with scrap wood and bits of metal from trash cans, I was into DIY for sure and some of my contraptions were absurdly weird, but they were mine and to my liking.
Back then hardware stores still carried miner's lamps, those little brass things that were mounted on their hats and the lumps of carbide that made the gas for the light. Carbide was a staple for us kids. A few lumps of that and nesting cans (with a hole in the big can) and a little spit, a match and we had our backyard cannon. Gee, a big box of kitchen matches only cost pennies then. Often that carbide cannon activity was banished to vacant lots and we had to be careful to not hit houses on each side. They made a very nice bang and the can would fly high.
There were so many fun things in my childhood and are only in my memory now, sadly they have been Left Behind . . . . . . . .0 comments so far