Step Back in Time

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.

candy 3

candy 2candy 1


19 thoughts on “Step Back in Time

  1. mag says:

    Oh yes! The wax bottles with the tiny sip of sweet syrup, bulls eyes and the little licorice bears …… My sons loved nerds and pop rocks…..I forbid the nerds from the house because I believe they leaped from the box and catapulted all over the house, hiding under the furniture.

  2. A walk to the dime store (called Ben Franklin) with a few coins used to be such an adventure! Getting a little bag of candy was fun… along with the sharing and trading that followed. I can feel my jaw ache thinking of those wax lips, too. Why did we keep chewing them so long? I liked the Slo Poke and Mary Janes, too, along with the candy necklaces and candy dots. Maybe all that sugar, especially the sticky, chewy stuff. explains some of the dental work I’ve had!

  3. Elise, a few weeks ago you suggested a book after reading one of my posts. Thanks so much for that! I’ve read half and feeling much more hopeful. Thanks again!

  4. You took us right back to our childhoods too! I loved slo-pokes and the Razzles in your picture make me nostalgic for sure. I also have a special place in my heart for Fruit Stripes gum. It is more of an 80s thing I think, but still a classic. Candy is a great quick write topic…adding it to my list of possibilities for March!

  5. I remember the candy store we used to stop at on rare occasions as a child. My favorites were different than the candies you named, but the feeling is the same. Sometimes I long for the simplicity of those days. Sometimes I wonder what things my own children will remember when they look back on their childhoods.

  6. Wow! You brought back fond memories of my Great Uncle Tom, who was a special character. He used to carry Clove chewing gum all the time to give out to all the nieces and nephews when he visited. I haven’t seen that type of gum in over thirty years, but the Teaberry made me think of it. Thanks for reminding me of some of the most wonderful people and times of my childhood!

  7. What funny candy names! I love how you said that the Ingalls family would shop there — coupled with your pictures, that helped me really picture the store! We have a little candy shop in my town that sells some old candies, but not as old or as many kinds as this, I think. My mom always gets those old-fashioned stick candies.

  8. I loved the Teaberry gum too, Elsie. You have brought back memories, especially the slo pokes-we did love them because they lasted such a long time! How about Valla Milk candy? (I think that’s the spelling.) Thanks for sharing such a fun place. And you could buy just a few if you wanted a variety, just as Bonnie said.

  9. Terje says:

    I don’t know the candy you wrote about, but I do understand the feeling when you see or taste something from your childhood.

  10. Tam says:

    We had a candy store on the way home from school with all these favorites. Candy was either a penny or two or maybe a nickle. All went into a little white bag–what treasures! My favorites were the red lips, lemonheads, and fireballs! Thanks for the memories–good times.

  11. I’ve had the same experience Elsie, and even though my faves don’t seem to be your faves, we have a few candy stores in Nyack with all my old loves. Just before a Saturday Matinee, for pennies, I could fill up a small bag of candies. I didn’t need bars, I loved the variety. As much as I would have liked to fill a bag as an adult, they don’t sell those candies in penny versions and my guilty conscience just wont’ let me break my dieting regime. But I am so enjoying those memories. I will take some pics of my faves and put them into a March slice when we get going…
    I’m thinking candy! 🙂

  12. As I read your post, I was wondering about candy cigarettes – so glad you included them. They were such a delightfully wicked candy of my childhood. Were your perhaps at a Cracker Barrel? Did they have Valomilks (my brother’s favorite candy)? Thanks for the picture!

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