Candy Of My Youth (and this is not a romance novel)

On Saturday I went to the General Store to try to find something from my sparent mom for Mother’s Day. I found some great things including an $85 purse (not going to happen) but what really caught my eye was the old fashioned candy section. I hadn’t see these items for, well a long time. Vanilla Bonomo Turkish Taffy was my favorite growing up (I liked chocolate, banana, and strawberry also but vanilla was my favorite). And I tried to remember the theme song but couldn’t. Fortunately I found it on the internet and sang it for the rest of the weekend. Come on sing along. Bonomo taffy was a dentist’s dream and a parent’s nightmare. Of course today Turkish Taffy sounds like code for some sort of opium.

I also found Nik-L-Nip (which actually sounds like a super hero with metallic breasts — “Look out bad guys here comes NICKLE NIPS.” I believed I spoke of these before — it’s a wax bottle with about 1/2 an ounce of colored sugar water with some artificial flavor. You bite off the wax top and guzzle it down as fast as possible. It was like a precursor to tequila Jell-o shots. And I’m warning Peter, Sue and Myrna that at our next gathering these are coming along so you better think ahead of time if you want a lime, lemon, orange, cherry or blueberry Nik-L-Nip because you are gonna be chug-a-lugging one of them.

There are candy buttons which are stuck to paper and you try to chew them off without getting too much paper to add to the delicious flavor. And, of course, candy cigarettes. It was so nice that the confectionery world got kids to see early on how cool it was to smoke — they even have red tips so it looks like they are lit. I remember me and my friends walking around with these hanging from our mouths — we would take them out and tap on the tips just like all the grown-ups did. We were in training for when we could have real carcinogens.  You don’t see candy cigarettes in stores anymore unless they are in the nostalgic candy section.

You have to wonder who came up with idea for candy cigarettes — well you don’t have to but it would help you to follow along with the next part.  It makes as much sense as it would today to be selling candy crack rocks. “It looks just like the crack your mom and dad use but it’s candy.” Or perhaps wax hypodermic needles kind of like Nik-L-Nips but called Stick-L-Nips — you bite off the tip and drink your lime, lemon, orange, cherry or blueberry heroin. Yum, yum. Add some root beer, fake tattoos, and a stained shirt that’s too tight and you have yourself a new crop of reality show contestants.

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