As I was leaving Albertson’s Grocery Store yesterday afternoon, I happened to glance at the side of one of the buildings in the Hilltop Shopping Center. It had a sidewalk ran from almost the top of the building in back, to the bottom of the building in front. It was a sidewalk I knew very well. I was reminded of how my sisters, our friends, and I used to walk over there every time our parents gave us a nickel. That sidewalk was steep enough that we could run down it with little or no effort. That was a game in itself. I have no idea why looking at a sidewalk that I had seen hundreds of times over the years, suddenly took me back to my childhood this time, but it did.
You see, just around the corner at the bottom of that sidewalk, was the Ben Franklin Store. The Ben Franklin Store had penny candy…and back then, you could get something much better than a simple gum ball for your penny. Having a nickel meant a bunch of candy. Even the candy itself was special. It wasn’t just a candy bar or a little piece of hard candy, but candy lipstick, and candy cigarettes, which may not have been the greatest thing, but we liked them. There were the candy necklace, bracelet, and ring. And, do you remember the wax pop bottles and wax lips, not to mention the old stand by favorites…jaw breakers and licorice cables. It seemed like there was something new every time we went to the Ben Franklin store. We never got tired of going as kids. It was the in thing to do, I suppose.
Of course, time marches on, and penny candy soon loses it’s appeal, as kids move on to other things in life. Bigger stores came into town, and soon the Ben Franklin store couldn’t really make a profit anymore. They closed years and years ago, but for me, the memory of that walk to the Hilltop Shopping Center to go to the Ben Franklin store will live on. Those were special times, when we were young and unencumbered with responsibility. Times when candy was all the treat we needed and a nickel bought enough of it to satisfy you for at least a day.
I can’t say I would want to go back to those days, because there are too many of today’s blessings that I would have to give up to go back there. Nevertheless, those memories are precious, because just thinking about them can take me back to a special time in my life. Every experience in life shapes who we are and who we will become as time goes by. For me, those sweet days of childhood were such a blessing. My childhood was all I could have hoped for, and I wouldn’t change a day of it. Sometimes, I miss those days, but mostly I just like to run through my memory files once in a while to spend just a little but of time in my past, before moving back into the present with a renewed sense of just how blessed my life has been.