Guess what I had the other day? A BB Bat! It's the first time I've had one since I was a teenager! Now for some of y'all out there, those of you who are forty and older, that statement means something. For those of you who are still a bit wet behind the ears, I'll offer up a quick explanation. BB Bats were these super hard little taffy-like candy suckers that were popular back when I was a kid. You could get them in strawberry, banana, chocolate, and one other flavor that was sort of like peanut butter. I think they were supposed to be soft and chewable, and once in awhile they were, but most of the time you could build the foundation of a house out of them on account of they were so hard. Despite that, they were super popular, and you could get one for one or two cents max.
If I had the proverbial dime for each one that I ate as a kid, I'd be writing this column from Sea Island each week. Enjoying a BB Bat made me think of some of the other candy items that I used to enjoy back when I was a kid. Since my granddad, Ed Sr., ran a general store in Juliette when I was growing up, I had the opportunity to try out lots of different kinds of candies.
Remember those big, wax candy lips that they used to sell? They were big and actually had a little flavor in them. You could put them in your mouth and get a laugh out of how you looked with them in place, and when you tired of that you could bite off a chunk and start chewing. Didn't take very long to chew the flavor out, and you really couldn't chew them for very long because they would start hardening up on you. Some of my friends would even swallow the wax after the flavor was gone, which I thought was a tad on the dumb side as I figured the wax would set up inside one's stomach like bricks, and I won't say anymore about that, but y'all can guess what I'm thinking.
Didn't matter back then to us, kids, though, I'll bet they sold hundreds of thousands of wax lips to kids of my era. Something that may surprise a few of you younger people out there is one of the most popular candies of my time were candy cigarettes. I kid y'all not, candy cigarettes. They came in packs that looked a lot like real cigarette packs, and there were usually ten to twelve to a pack.
The actual candy was chalky tasting and had a flavor somewhat like Pepto-Bismol. They even had a little red dye on the end of each one to make them look more like lit cigarettes. Back then, they didn't have all the info out yet about how bad cigarettes were for your health, so candy ones were considered to be amongst the coolest candies of them all. For obvious reasons, you can't find them at many places now, but they were sure popular back when I was a kid. Other kinds of popular candies that you don't see very often these days? Well, there were little wax bottles with some kind of flavored syrup in them, you'd bite off the "head" of each bottle and drink it.
Also, there were Mary Janes and Bit-O-Honeys, both were sort of tan and taffy like, and both had peanut butter in them. Let's not forget Necco Wafers - they were thin colored candy wafers that didn't really have much taste, but you got a lot of 'em when you bought a roll. And last but not least, do y'all remember Zero Bars, those candy bars that were white on the outside and chocolate on the inside? They tasted pretty good, but for some reason they always made me feel like I was eating compressed bird poop.
And since some of y'all may be eating breakfast while you read this I promise I won't elaborate anymore on that tender observation. Sure, there are much better candy choices these days than what we had to choose from back when I was growing up. Much better. I will say this, though, in our collective middle-aged defenses - there's no way the young people of today can enjoy some of their modern candy any more than we did a good fist full of Razzles, a Goo Goo Cluster, or a foot-long peppermint stick. There's just no way.
By: Ed Williams