in for a penny, in for a pound…. putting in my two cents… spend a penny, spend a pound…the penny drops
I miss pennies. Not that they’ve gone missing but because they don’t matter any more. Pretty soon pennies will be gone completely. Nothing costs a penny anymore and people just throw them away as if they don’t matter. The parking lots at grocery stores are littered with them, no one picks them up or makes a wish. We just step over them like they’re trash. If you save them, roll them up, and turn them in to your bank you get looked at funny. I know, I’ve tried. No one likes the sound of change jingle jangling in their pockets, it’s easier to carry a card to swipe through a scanner. It eliminates the need to count change or figure out sale’s tax. It’s quicker and quieter to avoid loose change. Machines still take quarters although they seem to prefer dollars. And pennies have fallen by the wayside.
When I was growing up pennies mattered. My parents were afraid of debt. They’d grown up pinching pennies and they stressed it to us. I’d probably still be grounded if they’d seen me throw one out. We kids saved them up. In the summer we’d all walk up to the Mole’s and spend our money. He sold wonderful things like Coke in glass bottles for a quarter, comic books for fifty cents, and things like sour gum and snappers to scare and delight our friends with. He sold bait in a cooler right next to a freezer full of Popsicles, Fudgesicles, and Dreamsicles. He had coffee, maps, and other things our parents might send us up for but his biggest business, I would imagine, was his wall of penny candy. He had a stack of plastic cups and we would take one and fill it up with penny candies. Atomic fire balls, root-beer barrels, BB Bats ..I like the banana ones. Charm pops, candy rings and bracelets, bubble gum with comics wrapped around each piece. We could have caramels and lemon drops, licorice laces and peppermints. He sold Pixie sticks, sour balls, and those long strips of taffy in wax paper. As long as we had the pennies, he had the candy.
We’d each stand there and make our selections, these were important choices we knew how many pennies we had. And then we’d hand our cup to him to turn over and count out on the big wooden shelf. He’d add them up one by one on his cash register and after we paid he’d put our bounty in a small white paper bag and we’d head back out into the sun to make the walk back home. That candy could last the whole day, maybe two if we were patient. I never was though. My brother was and he’d deliberately eat the ones he knew I liked first so I wouldn’t beg anything off him at the end of the day.
I can still buy those candies on line, but not for a penny or even a dime. I still have my comic books from the Mole’s and I still have some pennies but nothing costs a penny anymore, pennies just don’t matter. We throw them out or give them up, or like me save them in a big glass water bottle. Pretty soon they’ll go away and our grandchildren will be fascinated to hear they ever existed but I’ll have my memories of penny candy and making that trek on a warm Sunday morning down to the Mole’s with my pennies in hand and back home again with my bagful of candies and even though the candy doesn’t leave a sweet taste in my mouth now, the memories are always going to be sweet in my mind.