Mrs. Brown's Necco Wafers!
By Bob Stockton
Growing up in the northeast, circa 1950.
©2010 Bob Stockton. Adapted from 'Listening To Ghosts' (Xlibris Press) by Bob Stockton. All rights reserved.
Schiller Avenue was two blocks behind Broad Street running in a parallel direction. It was more of the same sort of working class neighborhood that was a part of my principal world at the time, block after block of attached two story attic topped homes interrupted occasionally by a single family dwelling. Schiller Avenue was one block west and one block north of Willey School, the local neighborhood middle school which covered the fifth through seventh grades. I attended Willey for fifth and sixth grades in 1949 and 1950. I was a year younger than my classmates, having skipped a grade a few years earlier. Every day for those two school years I would detour on the way to school (and sometimes on the way home, finances permitting) to stop at Mrs. Brown’s Candy Store.
The store consisted of the front room of one of those attached Schiller homes that had been converted into a little confectionery. A glass display case butted up against the front wall and within the confines of that case were sweet candies and other treats that that kids love to eat and upon which their family dentists become wealthy. The rest of the house was hidden from view by a curtain covering the entrance to the living quarters. I’d open the door, a little bell would ring and Mrs. Brown, a large sixtyish woman with gray hair would come wearily through the curtain to sell her confections. She had mostly penny candy and never lacked for customers. Mary Janes, colored sugar drops stuck on paper, licorice sticks, the tiny faux wax coke bottles containing colored syrup (we would chew the wax after the syrup was gone), candied mint cigarettes that came in pretend cigarette boxes, gumdrops, jellybeans and my personal favorite, Necco Wafers. It was kid heaven.
I seldom missed a day visiting Mrs. Brown’s store. She made her living one penny at a time.
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