Recently my grandson asked me what one cent would buy. I had quite a time thinking about an answer when it suddenly struck me -"Why Shawn," I said, I guess about the only thing I can think of at the moment is a postage stamp"
Just think a postage stamp! Somewhat different than back in the days when we, as kids, could go around some of the stores where they sold penny candy and what a selection they had for us. As I recall it, it was a toss- up between Rube Morris' Cigar Store or Jimmy Burke's store at the corner of Russell St. and Lindsay St. S. Their showcases of penny candy was a dream come true for kids with a small or a large one cent piece and loads of time to survey the vast offerings. Guess you could say that we could take as much time deciding what we wanted as a lady shopping for a new dress or a man just browsing in a hardware store.
I have listed some of the many things we might choose - like Hard Hats, chocolate covered marshmallows on a sucker stick (around Easter time it was chocolate- coated marshmallow bunny rabbits), miniature ice-cream cones with a marshmallow top sprinkled with red sugar topping, B B Bats were a favourite as were Jaw Breakers. Maybe we'd head over to the licorice section of the showcase and try to formulate an opinion on whether we should go for a licorice whip, a plug of licorice with a little tin Indian Head attached thereto (we used to pretend it was chewing tobacco and could imitate some of the tobacco chewing men about town), licorice pipes, foot long stripes of licorice with hard candy dots every inch along the strip, not to forget licorice cigars with red sugar on the end to give the impression it was lit.
How about a package of candy cigarettes? No, then how does some Long Tom popcorn sound? Sponge toffee was a favourite as was Macintosh Toffee and Kerr's Butterscotch, All - day suckers (of course they only lasted about 15 minutes) and naturally we were always inquisitive as to what we might find in a Grab Bag.
Hey, want to have some fun? Pick up a set of upper false teeth which were made of lovely sweet wax and after causing a few laughs among friends, just chew away until the teeth were gone. And what about those wax imitation pop bottles that had a little liquid flavoring inside. I never did like the one inch banana flavored bananas which were quite chewy but it was still a choice.
One thing I do especially remember though, Rube Morris and Jimmy Bruce never rushed us because they believed in the old adage that a child is to-morrow's adult customer and kids remember how they were treated!