Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Challenge Week One: Candy

Challenge #1: What was your favorite childhood candy? By the end of the week: find, purchase and consume (or devour) your favorite childhood candy. Use all your senses. Record your experience, memories, and thoughts in your sketchbook and, if you'd like, share here on The Paper Compass.

While I have many childhood memories of summer, one of the most prevalent is of eating frozen Charleston Chews in a damp bathing suit while laying on the blazing hot Astroturf-carpeted tennis deck of the Innis Arden Country Club in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. The time spent at the country club is disproportionately recorded in my memory, but that makes sense as it involves several semi-prominent childhood experiences: my first (and only) synchronized swim performance to Pink Cadillac; the first 6 foot long sandwich I had ever seen (and eaten); and The High Dive. There were hours filled with golf and tennis lessons, many laps completed in a sloppy-but-determined manner as a member of the junior swim team, weekend family cookouts, and the highlight of the day: a single piece of candy, as allocated by my dad, and signed for using the “chit.”

Candy was kept in an industrial-sized freezer behind the white laminated counter of the pool snack bar manned by teenagers with their collars turned up. Rather than taste, logic governed the selection of the Charleston Chew: it was the biggest (read: longest) piece of candy in the freezer. Hence it was the best ROI for the single selection my brother and I were given. After standing on my toes to sign the chit with a stunted golf score card pencil, the candy was taken up to the tennis deck to be either cracked into pieces and eaten slowly, or gnawed at, the chocolate melting first, until a bite sized piece came off.

In retrospect, I marvel that I still have teeth.

Candy seems to (sadly, yet fortunately) hold less appeal as we grow older. Yet, it is a powerful vehicle for tapping into memories and into the mindset of our younger-selves as seen in the instance above.

This inspires the first Summer Challenge: Candy Treat. What was your favorite childhood candy? Where did you buy it or whom shared it with you? Did you have it all year round or was it something seasonal, like the frozen Charleston Chews?

This week make it a To Do list priority to find your favorite candy from childhood. Once you have it, take a good 15 minutes to enjoy (or take in) the experience of eating it. Record your thoughts, memories, and experience in your sketchbook—and here on the blog in the comments section!


  1. My favorite memory (in my long history of candy-happy memories) was that of walking hand in hand with my Dad down the road to the general store in Beulah, MI where my Grandparent's owned a cottage. He would get the paper and buy me a small bag of plain m&ms. Not only was the candy delious and seemed to last a long time, but this was my special time just to be with him.
    On another note, growing up in Ct., at the Milbook Club in the summers we would buy Hershey Bars and lay them on rounded tops of the refuse cans until they melted, then open them and lick the chocolate off and then go jump back in the pool. Yum.

  2. My favorite summer candy was something called "Weiße Mäuse" (White Mice). They are chewy and sweet, a little bit like a Marshmallow in consistency, but not quite. They were sold individually for 10 pennies each at the local outdoor swimming pool. Usually my parents gave me 1 Mark to spend for candy and I would buy a mixed bag, but I always saved the two or three Mice in the bag for last.

    Although they were available all year round at other stores and newspaper stands, I only ever bought them in the summer.

    Unfortunately, I cannot buy them here (I even checked online right now). My mom just send some other German Haribo candy, so I have an excuse now to open one of those bags.