Old Fashioned Candy Store
by Don Bell
Old Fashioned Country Store & Candy Counter
Do you have fond remembrances of glass candy jars and nostalgic candy from childhood? I know I do. Whenever I see or taste old fashioned candies, it takes me back to those fond memories of early childhood when life seemed simpler and more fun.
Here's a delightful account of the old fashioned candy store from Great Grandma's day with its nostalgic candies, adapted from the book "Mary At The Farm and Book of Recipes Compiled During Her Visits Among The Pennsylvania Germans" by Edith M. Thomas, published by the author in 1915.
Aunt Sarah found in Mary a willing listener when talking of the time in years past when her grandfather kept a small "Country Store" on the Ridge Road in Bucks County:
Remembering The Old Time Candy Counter
I still remember how perfectly wonderful the large, wide-mouthed glass jars containing old fashioned candy appeared. There were red and white striped mint sticks, striped yellow and white lemon sticks and horehound and clear, wine-colored sticks striped with lines of white, flavored with aniseed.
One jar contained clear lemon-colored "Sour Balls," preferred by us children on account of their lasting qualities, as also were the jujubes, which resembled nothing so much as gutta percha, and possessed a flavor equally fine; also pink and yellow sugar-frosted gumdrops.
In a case at one end of the old fashioned candy store counter were squares of thick white paper covered with rows of small pink, also white, "peppermint buttons," small sticks, two inches in length, of chewing gum in waxed paper, a white, tasteless, crystalline substance resembling paraffine.
What longing eyes I frequently cast at the small scalloped cakes of maple sugar, prohibitive as regards cost. They sold for a nickel, and I was always inordinately fond of maple sugar, but the price was prohibitive. I seldom possessed more than a penny to spend in those days, and not always that.
Father raised a large family, money was never plentiful, and we relished the plain, cheap candies usually sold in those days more than many children of the present day do the finest and most expensive cream chocolates, to many of whom in this extravagant age a dollar is not valued more highly than was a penny by us in years gone by.
And "Candy Secrets!" I don't believe you know what they are like. I've not seen any for years. They were small, square pieces of taffy-like candy, wrapped in squares of gilt or silver paper, inclosing a small strip of paper containing a couple of sentimental lines or jingle.
Later came "French Secrets." They consisted of a small oblong piece of candy about an inch in length, wrapped in tissue paper of different colors, having fringed ends, twisted together at either end. These also inclosed a tiny strip of paper containing a line or two.
Small, white candy hearts contained the words in pink letters, "Little Sweetheart," "I Love You," "Name the Day," etc. These were invariably distributed among the young folks at small parties and created no end of merriment.
Treat Yourself To Nostalgic Candies
Fond childhood memories of the old fashioned candy store and an earlier time are now long past. However, some of the old fashioned candy sticks mentioned in the account can still be made using the vintage homemade candy recipes found on this website.