Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Candy Economy

When I was a kid, I hoarded candy. All my money, allowance, spare change, etc., went for candy. Around age 11, I started to want other things—like records—and my spending habits changed. I'm not sure when I started spending my own money on clothing, but I did spend plenty on records, books (mom did not approve—that's what libraries are for), and toys. I wasn't much for buying make-up, ever.

I would save my Halloween candy (what I didn't eat the first night) in a special metal box. If we had dessert that night, I had one piece. If we didn't, I'd have two. I would keep this up for a few weeks and break down and eat it all.

When we lived in Ft. Saunders, in Knoxville, I'd make a weekly trip to a corner store (aka candy store) a few blocks away. I kept those trips a "secret" from my parents. They must have known what I was up to. I would carry my cash, reserved for a candy purchase, and carefully weigh my options. Each week I engaged in a value-quality trade-off. I would examine the candy packages to see which treats weighed more and incorporate that into my decision making. There was also the chocolate vs. fruity dilemma, usually resolved in favor of chocolate.

Some of the candy I bought in those days doesn't exist anymore, even in my memory. And there were the things that taunted me like Almond Joy and Mounds which sounded good but didn't taste good. Or Chunky. Remember Chunky? It contained raisins, anathema to me, but surrounded by an enormous piece of tempting chocolate. But so full of raisins! Impossible.

I talked to my dad recently about candy and how important it had been to me as a kid. Not that I still don't love candy--I do. But it doesn't rule my world. Sadly, it's no longer a luxury. In the middle of my candy reflections, my dad got this far away look on his face and said, "You know, there used to be this terrible tasting candy I bought when I was a kid. But you got so much for your money, that I would still buy it. It was bunch of these hard, flavored disks. What were they called?"

Necco Wafers! You bought Necco Wafers?"

"Yes! Necco Wafers. They were terrible."

I said, "That's hilarious--especially because I did exactly the same thing. There were just so many of them--they lasted forever!"

I love that my father and I, with childhoods separated by 37 years, had exactly the same attitude about candy when we were kids.

Grateful for: candy.
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