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Learning to steal at the Penny Candy Store.
The Corner Candy Store 1950
Across the street from Queen Elizabeth Elementary School the store man sold penny candy and yoyos. The little grade two girl who joined the class in October, and sneezed all the time, stood on her tip toes and peered through the window. She could glimpse jawbreakers, tootsie rolls, white candy cigarettes with red tips, peppermint patties, jersey milk chocolate squares. In class Marsha wiped her red dripping nose and dreamed of the candy bins.
Creaky wooden desk
Marsha sat in a creaky wooden desk in front of Margaret. It had an inkwell in the top right corner where Marsha dipped her finger tip and turned it blue. At lunch Margaret and all her girlfriend bumped Marsha’s desk when they left to go skipping. Marsha dawdled at her desk. She was little and she had hay-fever and asthma and she didn’t know how to skip rope.
He came to the candy store some afternoons. He was tall with a blond crew cut. He wore a thick white cardigan with bright yo-yo prize crests sewn all down the arms. And there were shiny yoyo pins on his lapel. He did tricks with his golden yoyos. He could “Walk two dogs” and “Go around the world or over two waterfalls. The kids who could sleep their yoyos and do a dog walk got crests and badges. Marsha hoped she could win a golden button for her cardigan. She tried and tried but her yoyo just hung dead.
Five cents got Marsha15 jawbreakers, or 10 licorice pipes. Marsha got five cents per week allowance in grade one. Margaret made Marsha buy her candy since Margaret didn’t have any allowance.
Cost 3 for a penny . They lasted a long time if you didn’t try to bite them Also you could keep fishing the slippery sticky balls out of your mouth to show the other kids the changing colors. First black and then red, yellow,green,white and then there was a little seed in the middle. Marsha bought a bag of jawbreakers and shared them with Margaret.
The peacock was metal with colored feathers painted on its body and sparkly rhinestones all different colors at the end of its tail feathers. Margaret wore it pinned on her sweater. Billy said she stole the brooch from the five and ten cent store.
In early October when Marsha was sitting outside with the kids she threw a small rock at Margaret’s shoe. Margaret jumped up and told the monitor. The monitor dragged Marsha to the principal’s office. The principal’s strap was made of shiny brown leather. It hung in a nail in the principal’s office. The strap was almost a long as a ruler .
“Hold out your Hand”, said the principal.
Marsha thought he wanted to see if her hands were clean and she stuck them both out. She jerked them back as the strap came whooshing down. The principal laughed.
“This time I will give you a second chance”, he said.
Candy store bins
The bins each held piles of candy. One day Margaret said:
“D’yuh wanna learn t’steal?”
“Yuh take candy for free.”
They walked together across to the store. Margaret whispered:
“Back up to the bins. Watch that he isn’t looking. looking. Reach in and grab some candy. Then stick it in your pocket.”
Marsha had trouble sticking the handful of jawbreakers under the wads of damp used Kleenex in her bulging pockets.
Marsha coughed into her hand and reached into her bulging pockets for Kleenex to wipe her sore red nose. Under the Kleenex she felt the stolen jawbreakers. If Margaret told on Marsha stealing candy the principal wouldn’t give a second chance
Other Childhood adventures
Here are some other stories of childhood adventures: