Do these words mean anything to you: Black Cow, Slo Poke, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Mary Jane, and Teaberry? They are candies and gum from my childhood. Are they in your memory too?
My husband and I went to a restaurant, new to us, in St. Louis this weekend and stepped back into time. This is where the Ingalls family would shop for all the needs of the family. The walls were lined with kitchen gear, books, wine, candles, and all sorts of knick-knacks to tempt you.
You order at one counter and you get a numbered card. Take that card to another counter where the hostess jots your number down and how many are in your party. Then you wait and mill about until she fetches you to sit at a community table.
While I was waiting my eyes wandered and landed on the candy counter. Candies I had loved as a child jumped out at me. There was the black wax mustache and enormous red wax lips. I slipped back in my mind, remembering the warming of the wax in your mouth, then the chew, chew, chew. My jaws started to ache as I recalled that ball of wax chewed until the last bit of flavor was gone. The Slo Poke and Black Cows used to be suckers that lasted all day as you worked on softening up the caramel. The Squirrel Nut Zippers were unknown to me, but the Mary Janes were another jaw exercise. Finally, Teaberry gum was one of my favorite flavors. It wasn’t as readily available as the Wrigley gum flavors, so I always savored those sticks of gum. As I noted the candy of the past, I saw they also had candy from the present. Razzles and gummy burgers were lined up next to candy cigarettes, Lemonheads, and Boston Baked Beans.
Should I need a candy blast from the past, I know just the place to visit.