Before I became interested in boys, sweets were the #1 priority in my life, especially since my parents didn’t allow us to have any candy in our house. It was my favorite thing to daydream about because it was both forbidden AND delicious, which fueled my obsession further. I was intense about the sweet stuff. “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” was my favorite movie and Candyland was my favorite game. Sometimes I’d lick the Candyland board when no one was looking, close my eyes and pretend that I was actually licking a gumdrop. That’s probably not normal.
You could say that I had an active imagination when it came to sugar. I often wondered what it’d feel like to dive into a giant 6 foot eclair. I bet it would feel awesome. I wished I could dive off of a Charleston Chew diving board into a giant pool of Bavarian cream, using cinnamon donuts as floaties. I wished I could sleep in a bed made out of chocolate cake, rest my head on pillows made of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls and snuggle a teddy bear made of marshmallows. These thoughts comforted me and I assumed I’d have candy every day when I grew up just because I finally could.
With that said, I’d bet eight-year-old me would flip her lid if she knew how I rarely eat candy as an adult. I’m serious. She’d be downright pissed if she found out how I barely touch the stuff especially since a large portion of my childhood was spent making loud announcements to my parents that I would eat candy every day when I grew up and that there was nothing that they could do about it.
“You mean you don’t have a huge drawer dedicated to candy in your kitchen?” younger me would ask, swinging her legs off the chair. “I’ve always wanted one of those.”
“Nope,” adult me would shake my head.
“What the hell? You don’t buy Twix by the dozen? You don’t have a Twizzler tub by your bed? You don’t have a secret stash of Cadbury Eggs?”
“Well, sometimes I like a bite of high-end dark chocolate sprinkled with sea salt. That’s pretty good.” The disappointment with my lack of candy consumption would register on her pudgy face.
“Who are you?”
The one time my mom would indulge me in my candy fixation would be on the first truly warm day of spring. There was a store about a mile away from my house at the bottom of a steep hill called Marweedles’ Mini-Market which was stocked with a variety of candy in wide glass jars with heavy glass lids. Like a pilgrimage, my sisters and I would make the annual mile-long trek (by ourselves!) to the store.
Our mother would give us each a dollar to spend which is an insane amount of money for a place like this. It was like our version of Rumspringa. It felt like we were vacationing in Eastern Europe and realized that the exchange rate was supremely in our favor. With that crumpled dollar in my back pocket, I felt like P. Diddy ordering Grey Goose bottle service in Vegas after hosting the MTV Music Awards or something. I felt so freakin’ rich that it almost wasn’t fair. I was basically like this:
The entire way down we talked non-stop about who would get what. As we approached Marweedles’, we abandoned our walking pace and broke out into a full-on skip. We burst into the store, zipping straight to the register where the candy was kept. Fireballs, Dubble Bubble, Laffy Taffy, Smarties, and Lemonheads were 2 cents a piece. Tootsie Roll Midgees were a penny, and their longer, bigger Tootsie variations were a nickel. Candy cigarettes were ten cents a pack, which made them more of a luxury item.
“Can I have five Lemonheads, please?” I asked the older man behind the register.
“Five?” he repeated.
“No, wait. Make it six.”
“Okey doke, six Lemonheads.”
“You know what? Just give me a handful.” I started to panic, worrying if that was going to be enough to satiate me.
“One handful of Lemonheads? You got it.”
“No! Make it two handfuls!”
“Okey doke.” He gritted his teeth. “Two handfuls it is. Anything else? I have other customers here, girls.” We carried on like this until the small brown paper bag he dumped our loot in was filled to the brim with several scoops of the worst, cheapest candy on the planet.
We left puffing away on our candy cigarettes like tiny gangsters in corduroy pants. By the time we got home, we were all out of breath from a mixture of dehydration and the heat outside. My red face matched my fingers which were stained red from popping the Fireballs in and out of my mouth as they made my tongue tingle which I half-hated and half-liked.
“Did you guys have a good time?” My Mom asked as we filed in looking like ravaged animals. I nodded as I walked straight to the kitchen and scrawled, “ANNA’S CANDY – HAND’S OFF” with a black Sharpie on my brown bag so everyone would know that it was mine.
I was dead serious about candy as a kid so that’s why it’s so wild that now that I have the means to buy candy any time I want, I resist the urge. In fact, I try to avoid sugar because it makes my tummy hurt. But every once in a while when I’m at the supermarket checkout, I’ll toss a York Peppermint Patty on the conveyor belt and smile, knowing that the younger version of me would be stoked with the treat. And, you better believe that I still eat whipped cream straight from the can. I promise that I’ll never be too mature for that.
Image courtesy of Undercoverdollz.com