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Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Sweet Shop

The Sweet Shop
When I was a young man I had almost 23 thousand cavities.  Part of that were dentists who could not tell the deference between an indentation in a tooth and a real cavity.  Just to be sure they drilled and filled.  The other reason for all my cavities was the Sweet Shop.

Every town had a sweet shop.  Every kid spent time at the sweet shop.  There were sodas. Comic books and candy.  Lots of candy.  I’m sure much of that candy is still around, just not in the same kind of knock yourself out with sugar as the sweet shop venue of my youth. 

If you found a quarter on the street on the way to school, you would end up in the sweet shop after school.  It was not uncommon to find an occasional quarter.  A quarter would get you a sleeve of bazooka bubble gum complete with a comic, a Hershey bar, a pack of nickel nips and a comic book. 

If you find a quarter today on the way to school you have found only one fifth of a decent candy bar.  Today you almost never find four dollars and seventy-five cents laying around in the street, probably why kids don’t go to a sweet shop today, and why there are no more sweet shops in every town.

Inflation killed the sweet shop.

If inflation had not killed the sweet shop, politicians would have done it instead.  If we can’t have plastic straws or soda with our happy meal, I’m pretty sure the sweet shop would have been outlawed.

Probably a good thing, all that candy and sugar is not a good thing especially for a growing child with a mouth full of brand new teeth.

Still I have fond memories of the sugar poison we found at the sweet shop. 

Lik-M-Ade…a powder that you added to water to make a delicious sweet drink, except we never added it to water, we just licked the powder straight.

Nik-l-nips…sweet syrup in wax bottles that were made to add to water and make a sweet drink, only we just sucked down the syrup much like we licked the Lik-M-Ade powder.  Some people even ate the wax…eww...I had standards.

There was chocolate, Hershey’s, Nestles, in various bars, M and M’s, and the greatest bar of all…Chunky, WHAT A CHUNK OF CHOCKOLATE!

There was licorice whips, Good and Plenty, Dominoes Turkish Taffy, jelly beans, Tootsie Rolls and of course, Cracker Jacks…ALL IN ONE PLACE!  Does anyone remember Chuckles, Bit-O-Honey, Black Jack gum, Raisonettes, Goobers, Red Hots, Ju Ju Bees, and don’t forget the very refreshing Jr. Mint? 

I assume some of these are still around but you don’t buy them at a good old fashion Sweet Shop.  You could also get sodas at the sweet shop.  You did not just get a coke, you added a shot of syrup and had a Cherry Coke.  Ever had a Lime Ricky?  An Egg Cream*?...Yum!

Also at the sweet shop we would pick up a pack or two of Topps baseball cards.  For a nickel you got five baseball cards, mostly players from the Philly’s or Cincinnati that we used for flipping and trading.  Occasionally you found a Yankee or a Dodger or a Giant, that was like hitting the jackpot.  There was also a slab of gum which smelled really great, but tasted like cardboard. 

The sweet shop was not only where we nurtured bad teeth, it is where we hung out, argued about the best sports team and considered fraternizing with that other gender which was becoming less annoying and more intriguing.

Growing up we didn’t have video games, or social media, but dammit, we had The Sweet Shop, and that was pretty great.

*Did not have an egg, was originally echt creem, from echt, Jewish or German for real.


  1. I remember all those wonderful treats. A wonderful time to grow up. Thanks for the smiles.

    Have a fabulous weekend, Joe. ☺

  2. Talking about this, brings back fond memories of the little corner grocery store across the street from my grandparent's house. Seems there were very few selections of grocery items, but rows and rows of candy. Sometimes I would stand for a long time, trying to choose what I would spend my nickle on.

  3. Ours was just the front of someone's house, with a glass candy counter, a street over. Nowadays, they'd probably be accused of being pedos. No drinks were served, but they had all that stuff you mention, except for comics.

    My sister and I would bicycle over there and spend our every-two-week allowance of 50 cents. We got a HUGE stash of candy for that. I had no idea that Nik-L-Nips were supposed to be MIXED! I drank them straight, too, and they almost choked me. I chewed the wax bottles, but didn't get the appeal of those who said it was like gum.

    Don't forget the little boxes of jawbreakers, Lemon Heads, and Boston Baked Beans. You could blow through the end of the box when it was empty, and make an annoying sound with the cellophane window. I can't believe you never got a wax mustache or wax lips...

    1. Jawbreakers yes, Lemon Heads and Boston Baked Beans I don't remember, wax lips and mustache sound familiar and I remember the box trumpet trick, we did it with those little boxes of Sun-maid Raisins.

    2. I remember the wax lips which they told us to never eat, so we did. And those tiny little brightly colored wax bottles of terribly sweet liqueur and then we'd chew up the bottles too. Those are the ones we never told our mothers about. =)

  4. This reminds me of the U-Tote-Um at the end of our street, which is where we would spend our allowance (or at least I did, my sister was the "saver"). I remember the possibilities when I walked in with my $1 to $2 allowance back then.

  5. We had blackballs, macintosh toffee, licorice pipes and cigars, humbus, . ah those were the days.

  6. Yum. I visited those when I was a kid too.

  7. Now i want to go to the candy shop at the mall. It’s the closest we will ever have to a sweet shop again. And yes, i remember many of those treats.

  8. I remember sweet shops and we still have one here in Adelaide, in the city centre, but all it sells is sweets, mostly English and American, drinks in cans or bottles and Ben & Jerry's ice cream in tubs. I go in there now and again just to smell the air, sometimes I'll buy a few strawberry creams (chocolates) or peppermint creams, but not many as they are sold by weight and aren't as cheap as when we were kids.

  9. I am cheering because for years sweet shops were no more and now one has opened in the shopping centre. How I wish I was a youngster again!

  10. No wonder we're all getting diabetes now, LOL.

  11. Somebody has to keep the dentists in business and sounds like you've done a pretty good job of it. I remember mostly saving for Fleers Double Bubble Gum in case our little store got some in during WWII. Mom would buy big hunks of Hershey's Chocolate, ration it out to my older brother and I, then hide the rest 'til next time. I still got plenty of cavities in those days despite drinking lots of milk and having limited sweets. Baby Ruth, Clark Bars, Almond Joys, Mounds I managed to get occasionally if any money left from my meager allowance after going to the movies or roller skating.

  12. Amazing how far a quarter could go in those days. my girlfriends and I each got a quarter a week, and by the time we staggered out of the candy store with a decent sized bag, we were still 15 cents ahead. '
    Oh the economics involved in how many bulls eyes (they last longer) to get, over how many candy bars--do I want to spend 5 whole cents on a hostess cupcake?

    And for all that sugar (which they now tell us is poison) we were healthy, full of ginger, and not at all fat. Now they all drink those awful fructose sport drinks and 'energy' bars (hellO fructose) and call it healthy and blame the sugar.

    Shakes head, shuffles off.