A VISIT TO THE SWEET SHOP
All the talk today is about fitness and nutrition. Both important, and without proper exercise and nutrition we are slowly becoming a nation of fat kids with an epidemic of diabetes.
I have no idea how kids survived these issues when I was growing up. Nutrition? We guzzled soda by the quart. Sugar? We made almost daily visits to the “Sweet Shop.” Is there even such a thing today as a “Sweet Shop?”
What was offered at the Sweet Shop? Malteds, milk shakes and fountain soda concoctions. There were comics, new ones every month; Donald Duck, Little Lulu, all the superheroes, Mickey Mouse, Ritchie Rich, and many more all for a dime a piece. Fifteen cents got you a “Giant” at least twice the size of the regular comic.
Then there was the candy. Almost everything was a nickel. We bought what would today cost about five dollars for a quarter. How often do you see a loose fiver on the street today? Finding a quarter on the street then was common. Oh we had money. Plus soda bottles could be redeemed for two cents apiece, a nickel for one of the big ones.
On the way from my house to the Sweet Shop, and the local bowling alley, there was a lot of construction. My friends and I would each bring a box and on the way would collect enough empty bottles to supplement our Dollar a week allowance to bowl two games and pig out at the sweet shop.
Bowling, two games and rented shoes cost $1.05. Candy, holy cow I remember it all:
Nickel nips (wax bottles with syrup inside), multiple gums, Chiclets, juicy fruit, black jack (liquorish) Double Bubble, and Bazooka; Hershey and Nestles chocolate bars, Chunky’s (my favorite; what a chunk of chocolate), malt bars, Raisinets, jaw breakers, M+M’s, Good-n-Plenty, Jujubes, Whips, and many more…each for a nickel, and we tried them all!
None of my friends or I were pudgy, in fact we would be described as skinny. None of us to my knowledge ever developed diabetes. How did we survive this massive soda and candy diet?
We walked. We rode bikes. We walked to our friends; we rode our bikes to school. We rode to the shopping center (and we left the bikes unattended and unlocked.) We played outside. We played touch football, baseball, wiffleball, and basketball, all in the street, backyards, driveways or the school playground. We raced everywhere. We raced everything and everybody that had wheels, blades or feet. Our moms did not drive us anywhere. We did not have organized sports or playdates.
We consumed pounds of worthless sugar, but we burned it all off. There were no “Helicopter moms,” moms did not have any time to hover. We did have older brothers to watch us and kids of all ages played together and modified play and rules to allow everyone to play and make all the games fair.
Were the days of my youth better than then the days of today’s youth? Not better, just different. We would have killed for video games and the electronics of today. How much easier to just call your friend on a cell phone then biking for a mile to ring the bell and find out that in fact Billy could not come out and play. Remote controlled cars would have been as much fun as making your own bicycle motocross on the vacant lot down the street. I am sure kids today have as much fun as we did.
They just have to mind their diet.
And maybe walk on a treadmill while they watch TV.