I am writing a new book and a character arrived with a sweet tooth. That’s how these things work, as the writers who visit here know. You’re toodling along, making stuff up, and suddenly there’s this little girl lying belly down on the banks of the Gwynn’s Falls, a net at the ready to catch the crayfish (as we called them) and the next thing I know, she’s demanding that her new friend help her acquire “Circus Peanuts.”
I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten a circus peanut and, having read up on them on the Internet, I don’t think I ever will. But my small research foray — permissible because I’ve written 1,800 words today* — reminded me of the vast assortment of odd candy available during my childhood. At “Candy You Ate as a Kid” — http://www.oldtimecandy.com/decade-list.htm** — you can find a list of candy by the decade. The ’60s appear to be a pretty weak decade for candy innovation, with few new products being introduced. (The ’40s were worse, but I assume sugar rationing during the war had something to do with that.***) And a lot of the new candies of the ’60s were chewing gums, which I don’t count at all.
But one entry stood out — Chocolate Babies. And those reminded me of these long rows of sugar babies that my sister and I ate as a child, tiny infants in pink and blue swaddling, with — IMHO — blond hair and little white toes. However, I can’t find anything like that in my research and Googling “Sugar Babies” is pretty much destined to failed. Anyone else remember these? They are distinct from Chocolate Babies because they came in those long rows. And I think the flavor/consistency was similar to those little sugar buttons we used to eat from wax paper.
Still, the website is a great resource for Proustian memories. Walnettos! Squirrel Nut Zippers! Pixy Stix! Marathon Bars. Perhaps it’s just because I recently read True Confections — HIGHLY RECOMMENDED — but I could spend hours browsing this list of candy by the decade.
Memories of favorite candies, if you’re so inclined on this first day of Lent.
*Not good words, mind you, but words.
**It’s Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras. I am way too tired to do the html formatting.
***The ’80s are even worse than the ’60s. Big League Chew? Ugh.