My brother Steve is in town and yesterday he mentioned something about The Confectionary. This brought back so many memories for both of us. The Confectionary was the candy store on the corner, up the street from our grade school. Whenever I think about The Confectionary, it is with a capital T for The. Words have power and those two words, The Confectionary, are still wonderfully evocative words for me even today. It is this special place in my memory – a happy, almost magical place – that I loved to visit as a child and still like to think about as an adult.
There were two ways we could walk home from school, one way was down the hill and it was the shorter way home. The other way was up the hill and past The Confectionary. We sometimes took this route and we would stop in, but we didn’t get to do this every day – it was a special treat. In thinking about The Confectionary, both of us can remember some parts of the store really vividly – the candy counters to the left of the front door and the sofa fountain at the back of the store. Steve also remembers that they sold balsa wood airplanes, kites and other cheap toys there. Neither one of us can remember what was on the right side of the store, so we don’t know if they sold other things there or not. If they did have other goods, they were just not of interest to children, and so, for us, they didn’t exist.
I remember walking home one day from kindergarten, walking up towards The Confectionary. I looked up and saw a man that looked like my grandpa walking towards me. My grandpa didn’t live in the same town and he wasn’t visiting us, as far as I knew, so I was not expecting to see him. As I watched the man come closer and closer, I realized it was my grandpa. This was a complete surprise to me and I was so happy. He had walked over to meet me and walk home with me which was special enough, but in addition, he took me to The Confectionary. Nothing could be better than being in a candy store with your grandpa.
Steve remembers being at his friend’s house and the friend’s mother wanting to get the kids out of the house for awhile. So she gave them a dime and told them to go spend it at The Confectionary. A dime in those days would buy a lot of candy. In fact, my brother says at that time he had never been given a dime before. He had always just been given a nickel to spend. When the boys were only given one coin and one that was smaller than a nickel, they were disappointed. They didn’t really believe his mother that there were two nickels in that dime – how could they possibly fit two nickels in there?
I remember having a nickel at The Confectionary and trying to decide how best to spend that nickel. This was a really important decision for me. If I was going to get candy, which candy and how much of each kind should I get – a huge dilemma. Or I could forgo the candy completely and get a cherry coke or a cherry phosphate, but then I wouldn’t have anything to take home with me. I can remember thinking long and hard about what to buy with my nickel. So The Confectionary played a role in teaching us kids about the value of money and about making decisions — important lessons for life.