David L. grew up in Forest Hills in Queens, New York in the 50s and 60s. An advertising executive and gadabout, he now lives in Seattle, Washington.
I wish, for just one hour, I could return to my corner candy store.
I never saw my mother there; it was an island for juveniles only. A paradise of nickel treats (except for the boxes of rock candy, the kind with strings attached which sold for an unthinkable quarter). Who could afford such an extravagance when, for only 12¢, you could sit up on a stool at the counter and order a cherry coke? A vanilla coke was a penny less. Straight coke was a dime.
Ordering an egg cream was ordinary. Whichever drink you chose, each was individually concocted with squirts from the “fountain” area, and a long draw off the large red Coke machine into an hour-shaped glass. We’d spin circles on the stools, eying new additions to the boxes of toy models as we inspected the back wall. For 69¢ you could own a Revell Corvette kit. For 79¢ you could take home a P-51 Mustang. I never saw anyone buy the 1:250 scale aircraft carrier, although we all coveted it.
It must have been one summer during my college years when the candy store disappeared from the corner. It was replaced by a coin laundry. Only adults went there then, still bringing quarters, but there was nothing more magical than clean sheets that 25¢ could buy.
At left, the effects of too much early childhood candy intake seen in a portrait of the adult author, 1974.
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