Friday, February 5, 2010
The Candy Counter
Today I received a birthday card from my best friend in elementary school. Thinking kind thoughts of Julie brought back memories of fun things we did together in Hinckley many years ago.
Julie and I lived across town from each other so we would meet at the half-way point which was "Damron's Deep", an irrigation canel. The Damron kids had dug it deeper and wider to make a swimming hole. It was the best swimming spot in Hinckley with a huge headgate you could dive/jump off of and a rope tied in a tree you could swing out over the water and drop off. Damron's Deep was the agreed-upon half-way place between our houses and we would meet there to walk or ride our bikes anywhere else we were going. Julie always beat me there. I'm not sure if it was becase it was actually closer to her house or because my Dad always questioned me any time I left the house, but Julie would always wait patiently for me to arrive.
Our favorite place to go together was Morris Mercentile. (I've mentioned Morris Merc in a previous post.) The Merc was one of only two businesses in town. The second one was a gas station at the corner of Main and the Highway. (Referred to as the Hinckley Second Ward due to the large number of men and boys who would congregate there on Sundays to drink pop and visit during church.)
The Merc was amazing! My Mom would send me to the store for a pound of baloney or a box of crackers or whatever she needed for dinner and I would say, "Put it on my account." Mr. or Mrs. Morris would write it up in a little receipt book and I would sign it. Then they would put one of the copies of the receipt in a paper bag along with the groceries. I always felt so grown up doing the marketing at the Merc.
But even more incredible was the selection of candy Mr. Morris stocked in his tiny store. He had a big glass case about five feet wide and four feet high with different shelves, levels and sections completely stocked with the best candy of our generation. On the top shelf was the penny candy including Smarties, Pixie Sticks, Swedish Fish, Black Licorice Sticks, Tootsie Rolls and Hubba-Bubba Bubble Gum. The next level down had the nickle candy which were things like Pop Rocks, Lemon Heads, Boston Baked Beans and Alexander the Grape. Ten cent candies were next; things like Necos, Chicken Sticks, long Licorice Whips, Lic 'O Mades, Mike and Ike, Good and Plenty and Giant Pixi Sticks. The bottom of the counter had the quarter candy bars. Candy bars in those days were bigger than they make them now and Mr. Morris had every kind of candy bar made at that time.
The clerk was always having to tell us kids, "Don't lean on the glass." When I was small there were a few little cracks in the glass front of the case from children pushing their heads against the glass to get a better look at all those sweets. As I got older, those cracks became longer and more numerous and when I was a teenager, Mr. Morris had to tape the cracks with clear packing tape to keep the glass front together.
What a treat it was to take a quarter into Morris Merc and come out with a small paper bag filled with penny and nickel candies. Julie and I would take our sacks and go to the school playground to eat, swing and talk.
It is no wonder that the one and only dentist in town was also the richest man in the county. He must have made so much money filling all the cavities in the teeth of Hinckley children. I wonder if he invested in the Morris Merc's candy business?