Funny how a simple something can trigger a memory and take you back. I had to go to the gas station this morning to get money for the bus. I had to buy something so I could get exact change. As I waited for my receipt from the ATM machine, I glanced over at the candy section as a small colorful package with a blue background caught my eye. I picked it up and read the name 'Razzles.' Oh my goodness! I hadn't seen those things in years! I remember the commercials, "first it's candy, then it's gum." I couldn't get through the checkout line fast enough. I barely got into the car before I was tearing the corner off and popping a couple into my mouth. The distinct tastes of the tangy lemon mixed with the sweet grape washed over my tongue like a soothing wave. The taste that was so familiar took me back. In a flash I was 8 years old back in Shepherdstown, WV with a dollar burning a hole in my pocket and visions of sugar, minus the plums, dancing my head. I saw myself making the walk to the store (we only had one in town) with a Tracy and Trina. We were on a mission. We arrived at our destination, but first we took a moment to take in all the glorious candy in front of us.
I put my dollar on the counter and proceeded to place my order: 10 cents worth of lemon heads, a box of Alexander the grapes, a pack of now and laters (banana of course), a fistful of bazookas, and a pack of Razzles. I could barely contain my excitement when Mr. Banks handed me the little paper bag brimming with treats. Tracy and Trina followed suit and we made our trek back to my front porch (only because their trailer didn't have a porch)
The most important part of the ritual came next. After checking to make sure no one else was around (cause neighborhood kids could smell candy from miles away!), we dumped the contents our little paper bags onto the porch and the trade began. To this day I'm convinced it was more exciting than anything you'll find on Wall Street. "I'll trade you two lemon heads for a tootsie roll." "Okay." I'll trade you a box of Boston Baked Beans for your Alexander the Grapes." (I don't know why they kept trying that with me knowing I am allergic to peanuts, but it happened every time - like they'd thought I'd forget and say yes once...). "Nope, but you can have a bazooka for a caramel chew." "Okay." This went on until each of us was satisfied with the new contents of her bag. Then all at the same time we'd take one piece of candy, unwrap it and eat it with relish. I remember swinging our feet over the side of the porch with pure childhood joy.
Those were the days. I don't know where Tracy or Trina are now. I don't know if they stayed in West Virginia or moved somewhere else. We lost touch after my family moved to Baltimore, but I'll never forget those days where our most important decision was what kind of candy to buy and then what to trade.
So now I'm sitting at my desk chewing Razzles, and I swear, that if this chair was higher, I'd be swinging my feet!