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Flashback: It’s a Sweet Life

NOTE: This story originally ran in August 2017.

REGION – Cindy Goddard loves candy so much that it has become her major hobby. Cindy said it’ a way of making people happy.

She said she got into the hobby of candy collecting and demonstrations about five years ago when she heard a person talking about candy from her childhood. That person said that ‘This brings fond memories. Well, I remember when. . . .’

She said grandparents can share the various tasty candy varieties with their grandchildren, which makes for happy kids and a bond with their grandparents. The candy also serves as a topic of conversation, which also include stories of how life was back when the grandparents were small children themselves. Every variety of candy brings forth stories connected to it from the grandparents’ lives.

Cindy buys old time candy varieties on the internet, places it in tall, thick, old time candy jars and gives free demonstrations on the history of types and brands of candy down through the decades. The best part of the demonstrations is that the audience gets to go through the line of candy jars and sample the great tasting candies.

Cindy is the Community Liaison for all 10 of the The Brook Retirement Communities in northern and central Michigan. She demonstrated her candy collection and knowledge at the Commission on Aging’ (COA) Roscommon Center to COA members and residents of the Roscommon Brook, July 13. It included more than 50 candy jars. The oldest variety, Tootsie Rolls, began production in 1896.

She explained the strange ‘Circus Peanuts’ of the 1940s; they are sort of soft, taste like a banana, are orange in color, but look like overgrown peanuts. The peanuts have survived the test of time because they are still popular today.

Other kinds are the hard root beer barrels, begun in the 1920s. They look like a small barrel, smaller than a spool of thread, but taste like root beer. She discussed Hershey’ of the 1920s, Pixie Sticks, Horehounds, Mary Janes, Walmettos of the 1920s and 1940s and Church Candies.

She said it took a long time for church candies to dissolve in a kid’ mouth, so they were given these candies at the beginning of a church sermon to keep them quiet. By the time the sermon was over the candy had dissolved.

The Walmettos were popular, but too expensive for the poor people because they contained small pieces of expensive walnuts. Walmettos went out of production for many years, but came back in the 1940s. That was probably because the walnut trees were cut down across the country because the wood was used for furniture and gun stocks; they also have an adverse effect on agriculture. Plants such as corn and wheat will not grow to maturity under a walnut tree.

Cindy said she has set up and demonstrated her candy at weddings for friends and also at a veterans’ golf outing, but she emphasizes that she does not want to make a business out of it. It strictly a hobby.

To see some of the candy Goddard collects, go to www.OldTimeCandy.com.

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