The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Columns

July 12, 2014

In a quest for candy, our Mallo-Cups runneth over

From The Back Porch column

Growing up, we had everything we needed. We didn’t have everything we wanted, which was probably a good thing, but we had everything we needed.

Generally, we got soda pop once a week on Saturday nights unless we hitched a ride to the store with Daddy in the pickup truck and he decided to treat us. Candy was a rare treat, too.

During school days Christmas gift exchanges, I secretly envied my classmates who got the Life Savers book of candy. Wow! I’d never seen that many rolls in my life. For some, it was candy, but for me, it seemed like a million bucks.

Imagine my recent delight at finding Mallo-Cups in a store aisle. I never got a Life Savers book of candy, but I once got a whole box of Mallo-Cups. All to myself.

When I was a child and dinosaurs roamed the earth, Mallo-Cups and Smoothies could be found at any candy counter. One to a package, the candy was girded with a piece of cardboard bearing a coin denomination. Some were 1 cent, but some were $1.

Brother Jeff liked Mallo-Cups, and I was glad. The whole family collected the cardboard coins like squirrels hoarding nuts for the winter. We piled them in a kitchen drawer. Five hundred points meant a box of Mallo-Cups.

Mom, ever the egalitarian, said we would collect points until each of us could get a whole box. We saved and saved and saved, occasionally checking the drawer for a rough count to see where we stood. And, finally, the day came.

We were country folk who always had a roll of freezer tape handy because we butchered our own meat. She got the freezer tape and scissors, and we started cutting out the coins. Mom unrolled a strip of tape and we stuck the coins to it. The strip got as long as the kitchen table. We kept cutting and sticking. We tried to parse the bigger coins with the smaller ones so the strip of tape didn’t encircle the house.

At last we had all the coins attached to the tape. I don’t remember whether we had five strips — one for each member of the family — or just three for us kids.

Mom dug out business-size envelopes. Each kid carefully folded a strip into an envelope and addressed it so we’d each get a box with our name on it. That was a big deal in those days. We kids didn’t get much mail personally addressed to us.

We took it to the post office and put it in the mail. And waited. In those days, everything took four to six weeks to arrive, and the candy was no different.

We counted down the weeks and waited for our mother lode of Mallo-Cups. When they arrived, we drove to town in the pickup. We kids rode in the back because that’s what kids did in those days. Mom handed us our parcels, a small brown box addressed to each of us.

I don’t remember eating the candy or how it tasted. I just remember sitting in the back of the truck, holding that box all the way home.

We had really done something. We set a goal, worked toward it and waited patiently for it to be met.

With our new stash, we started saving points again.

— Young is a freelance columnist for The Register-Herald. E-mail: ynerissa@frontier.com.

© 2014 by Nerissa Young

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