From the time that I had enough teeth to deal with a caramel, there was a sweet shop next door to our school. It was run by the Corr’s family.
It was also our Carmel‘s (Hunter) local sweet shop for she indeed lived just a few doors away adjacent to St Joseph‘s School.
No sweet shop in my experience ever since has come up to it. It was not very big but it was packed. The mixture of smells that wafted out when you opened the door was nearly better than the treasure displayed on the shelves. There were gums, caramels in bright papers and unwrapped sugar sticks, golden sugary candy broken into lumps, paper packages with tubes of liquorice sticking out of the corners for sucking the sharp-sweet powder, cubes of dark chocolate and chocolate bars in shiny coloured wrappers and boxes of chocolate with ribbons and pictures on the top.
On the glass case on top of the counter rows of bottles of minerals were set out, some brown stoneware with spring tops, some blackish green and some clear glass with lemonade, yellow and bright, showing through. The fizz was kept in by a bakelite screw top with a thick rubber band on its inside, the rubber when stretched making the seal.
From the outside the latch polished by a thousand thumbs was a fitting ‘open sesame’. The perfect aromatic blend of chewy things is with me still. The proprietor took a shine to me and occasionally gave me my pick, a selection which invariably included a few butternuts, each one a mouthful, thickly coated with the finest sugar and buttery enough to loosen a flood of mouth juices.
My miserly ‘pocket-money’ however usually could run only to a few Black Jacks or Fruit Salads. If I was flush I might afford one of those toffee bars (were they called Lion bars?) that had squares marked on the surface but which never split along these lines when you held it in your outstretched palm and struck it suddenly on the edge of the kerb. This action could cause skin abrasions: in addition it always left very sharp edges and one could easily cut the inside of one’s lip when trying to soften it ready for chewing.
……… more to come …….