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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A VISIT TO THE SWEET SHOP


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. 

22 comments:

  1. It's strange when you realize that those parents who got a workout as kids made today's kids fat & lazy!!

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  2. i grew up swinging on swings, walking through fields and woods, wading in the creek, climbing trees, and riding bikes on country roads. loved it. wish kids were more active these days...

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  3. I really wish we could go back (at least part of the way) into less electronics and more outdoor time for kids. Then I think about the mother who let her 7 or 9 year old son go to the park by himself and got arrested for child endangerment. Something is truly sick about our world today. And I also wish I had some of that energy now that we had back then - wouldn't that be just about perfect.

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  4. Kids were so much more active back then. As a little boy, I played outside from morning til' night. I could eat ice cream three times a day and never gain a pound. Nowadays everyone sits on their asses.

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  5. I grew up the same way and wasn't fat. I didn't know any fat kids at all. We played outdoors all day long and ate whatever we wanted. Kids rarely play outside anymore. When they are little yes and at some point they are sitting in front of some contraption eating all the things we did as kids.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  6. The difference from then and now--inertia.

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  7. What a nostalgic piece. I remember each and every one of those sweet shop treats well. It helped that my Dad had a variety shop and sold them all. ;) We were skinny then also. The girls, in addition to the walking and biking all skipped rope and "played elastic."

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  8. You are so right. Just different. We ate atrociously any junk food we could afford but we moved. Morning till night and wore off those Clark bars and cans of Squirt with Kick the Can, swimming and good grief, sometimes mowing the neighbors lawn to buy more junk. Sure was nice not having to watch what we ate like today's kids have to.

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  9. By today's standards it's a miracle we even survived! We wouldn't have known what to do with knee or elbow pads, and helmets belonged on football players. On the 4th of July we didn't GO to a fireworks show, we WERE the fireworks show. Ahhh...the days. Great post Cranky.

    S

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  10. We went to the corner store, but we walked. Also we could not afford soda.

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  11. You bring back a lot of fond memories. Of course i was never skinny, not even back then, but only old people had diabetes. Given a choice, I'd prefer growing up in the fifties and sixties.

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  12. Different era and country, but my childhood was similar to yours in the corner store getting all my pocket money for lollies and riding everywhere.
    When my daughter was younger, we had all the kids in the court riding and playing together. As the Mum's went to work (and all the girl children moved away!) it diminished and now my girl barely leaves her own yard.
    I feel sad I couldn't give her that childhood, but as we have at least one child stolen every year from this area, I am not going to change it.
    She has her circus and gets to play on a trapeze each week - it will have to do!

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  13. I never worried all that much about what I ate as a kid, and I grew up doing a lot of adventure playing and setting up whole scenes with my animals where I'd spend hours on my feet putting together things - just moving around! I think too much time is spent on online activities and video games these days! Get off your bum and imaginate that fun darn it!

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  14. I grew up in the 70s and already things were probably closer to how they are today. There was concern about kids being overweight and not getting enough exercise. My sister and I were chubby but we did ride bikes a lot - every day, all around the neighborhood.
    My kids get very little spontaneous exercise. They walk up the end of the street to the local park, but they have not really taken to bike riding and many of their days are too structured anyway because we both work. They do a physical activity once a week and an hour of PE in school. Last night we got them walking on the treadmill at home for 20 mins each and it made me a little sad that this is what it's come to!

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  15. When I was a kid, soda, chocolate, and sugary candy was a rare treat. I remember when I left home, I decided that now, as an adult, I would eat all the chocolate I wanted! Fast forward a few pregnancies, stressful desk jobs, a couple of decades, and no exercise and I have to be mindful of what I eat and tell myself to move, move, move. Dammit!

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  16. When we were kids, we burned off the calories almost as quickly as we ate them. My favorite stores had a slew of penny candy. It took us a while to decide how to spend a nickel or dime, and the store owners never rushed us. They also had a box of used comics... two for a nickel. And the BEST homemade marshmallow and cream-filled donuts in the world.

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  17. Don't forget the Lemonheads, and those little button candies on that paper that looked like a receipt. And Chick-O-Sticks! Dang. Now I want some candy. But that takes too much effort to get up and get it.

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  18. Thing is, there's nothing wrong with video games (except the really violent ones) if people do it in moderation balanced out with exercise of riding bikes, etc., but it doesn't seem to happen that way. Wonderful memories of your growing up days that a lot of us can relate to!

    betty

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  19. Today's kids might have just as much fun, but not nearly as much fresh air and exercise. And they don't talk to each other, it's all texting, even when they are seated next to each other! That's a couple of ways the old days were better.

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  20. I loved reading this! My sisters and I would walk 3 blocks to the grocery store on the busy street....alone! We took our time choosing between the penny and nickel candy. I liked Squirrels and Mary Janes too, but they sure stuck in your teeth! We roller skated around the block wearing clunky skates you strapped to your shoes, carrying a key for adjustments along the way. We were skinny, creative and very, very happy!

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  21. Congrats on the POTW award! Oh I remember those days. We used to buy popsicles, dreamsicles, shoe-lace licorace, blackballs and stick out our tongues when they turned black, then purple, then orange (or whatever), that lick'em'ade powdered sugar you poured into your mouth, candy necklaces we wore to school and ate at recess, jelly babies (did you say that one?) Thrills gum (that horrible purple gum that tasted like soap), Pez machines that always broke…… yeah those were the days.
    Spent my summers in the woods, climbing trees, playing hide and seek and all the rest of the stuff you already said.
    Great post- fun to remember those days.

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