As a child, my sister and I often visited my grandparents for the day. My mom would drop us off and give us each $1.00 which in the 70’s/early 80’s was a lot of money with strong purchasing power in the candy store world. We would plan our strategy before going to the local penny candy store up the street. Yes, penny candy existed and we had 100 pennies to figure out the best allocation so that we had enough candy for the day to keep us satisfied. I remember the wooden glass enclosed cases with two shelves of candy in wooden boxes that slid out, the top of the counter held candy in large glass apothecary jars. In addition to the candy, there was a refrigerated case with drinks and a side freezer with ice cream treats. We each had $1.00 and so many ways to be happy at the candy store.
And thus the patience of the clerk began as my sister and I would rattle off “5 of this”, “8 of that”, “one candy necklace”, “a pack of candy cigarettes”, etc. I’m convinced we were good at math because we could add, multiple and subtract candy and our dollar budget. We had to dismiss the jaw breakers (Mom’s orders) as we watched all of the pieces being added up and put in the smallest of brown paper bags. If we had any money left after pointing and choosing our treats, then we turned around to the ice cream. We were fascinated with the waffle ice cream sandwiches – we never had waffles growing up. (we did bug my mom so much she gave in and bought the frozen waffles for us to toast and add ice cream). Happy to spend all one hundred pennies in the candy store, we walked back home to Nana’s.
Happy candy store memories are what made me seek out La King’s Galveston, located on the Strand, during my conference visit to the city. Pulling back the heavy wooden door, I walked up the few steps and just took it all in. In front of me were tables filled with families, couples, etc. -everyone was as they should be in a candy/ice cream store – happy! La King’s Galveston was founded in 1927 and today makes over 50 items with old time recipes (quite labor intensive) – that’s pretty amazing! The Strand store contains a 1920’s soda fountain serving ice cream (local Galveston Purity ice cream hand made), milkshakes, malts, ice cream floats, sundaes and ice cream splits. The modern offerings would be the coffee bar. The candy side of the store features the hand dipped chocolates, the homemade brittles, fudge and a host of tempting treats for young and old. No longer do you pay per piece, you pay by weight.
Walking toward the candy side, I slowly studied each offering behind the counter trying to mentality make that childhood list “one of this, two of that”. Flashbacks of my childhood candy store immediately played in my mind when I saw the jawbreakers in four sizes (Mom still wouldn’t approve, neither would my dentist), candy necklaces, candy cigarettes, wax candy – candy I haven’t seen in years, candy I thought was discontinued for a variety of reasons. Tempted to buy the candy memories to bring home to my sister, I instead chose to do what any adult would do (take photos to post on social media) indulge my grown up candy tastes. Two sea salted caramels in chocolate, two raspberry truffles and four chocolate covered pretzels were weighed and placed in my small brown paper bag. There are hand dipped chocolate everything – you name it, they do it! I left the homemade ribbon candy, salt water taffy, fudge and so many other great candies behind (no candy should be left behind!).
A dollar today won’t buy a candy bar or pack of M&M’s as I’ve recently learned when I was craving chocolate at work. To try to explain to my nieces the power of a dollar in a candy store gets lost (as does the whole I was the remote control as a child and there was no Disney channel or cable for that matter) and that make me sad for them. Sad that they don’t have the memories of the candy store like I do as candy played such a big part in childhood fun. If you want to relive your (or your parents) candy store memories of youth, then a visit to La King’s Galveston is a must – don’t worry about the calories, memories have no calories!
Do you have any candy store memories growing up? What was your favorite candy growing up?