Three wishes from a genie – that’s my dream.
Of course the first two would be for world peace and an end to all human suffering. That goes without saying.
It’s that third one I’d reserve for my most absolutely selfish desire – walking into a 1950s store like the one my parents used to own and scarfing up my favorite candies, which in our world today you can no longer find.
Remember these old standbys? We used to have them in big racks on top of the counter. Come on along.
Mars: I know there is something called a Mars today, but it’s not the old odd-shaped piece of creamy fluff with a couple of giant almonds poking out on top. Number one on my shopping list would be the real thing.
Powerhouse: This one in its prime (a “modern” version reappeared some years ago) was probably the most ferocious candy bar ever made. It was peanuts, caramel and nougat covered in chocolate, and it seemed to be about a foot long. Honest, you could have used it as a weapon.
Old Nick: Somehow, no one I talk to seems to remember this item. It was sort of a knockoff of the more popular Clark bar, and that might be why it disappeared. At least I haven’t seen it in decades.
Old Sol: Here’s another piece of history. This solid but wavy-looking pure chocolate bar was wrapped in see-through cellophane and was really good. But it had the misfortune to go up against the iconic Hershey products.
Love Nest: Pretty much a competitor of the more popular O Henry, which is still with us, it too is now part of the vanished America of tail fins and 45 rpm recordings.
Forever Yours: Another romantic-themed candy, I recall it as dark chocolate. It faced a very crowded market in its day.
Milkshake: This nice and thick chocolate bar did have a taste like a milkshake. Why did it vanish? Don’t ask me. I liked to put a stick in it and freeze it.
Schrafft’s: This was a whole line of slender, very sweet-tasting chocolate bars, not much remembered today. I haven’t seen them in decades.
Once in a while an old favorite storms back. I read recently that the Reed’s candy rolls, once a competitor of Life Savers, is now available. I’d look online. Likewise some of the old chewing gums can be found in retro stores and sites.
There were lots of penny candies in those days too. Some are still available in bags or the bulk candy bins of supermarkets. Among my favorites were the Squirrel Nut Zipper (classic nutty taste), Turkish Taffy (need I say more?), Ben Hurs (sometimes called Sen Sen), Kits (little packs of individually wrapped caramels).
I have to put in a good word, though, for a couple of confections that were once universally loved by the kids of America – wax lips and wax teeth.
Here’s a fun idea. Look online for sites where you can order a box of the lips or teeth. Then, take them into work and dare everyone to pop one of the goofy things into his or her mouth and leave it there.
Really, how could colleagues ever dislike one another again if they had to go through an entire day communicating with hand gestures and cries of “mffffggglll, rrrrggggnnnn, vbbgggfff”?
Anyway, I don’t think I’ll wait for the candy genie. So, it’s time to head for the store. Maybe, just maybe …
Tom Mooney is a Times Leader history columnist. Reach him at [email protected]