Squirrel Nut Zippers and Mary Janes

I’ll be honest, I’m a little too young to remember penny candy. Nonetheless, I can greatly appreciate a time that enjoyed such Squirrel Nut Zipperssweet treats thanks to my dad.┬áIf you know him, you know he’s always game for a good story. The ones about Squirrel Nut Zippers and Mary Janes were always my favorite.

My dad is a con-artist

Okay maybe that’s a bit harsh, but I don’t think my aunt would think so.

My favorite stories from my dad’s childhood always involve him going to a local country store and getting a Nehi soda and a bag of penny candy. Sounds innocent enough, right?


Old Gas stationThe story always went downhill from there, especially for my aunt. You see my dad was raised by his grandparents, so he grew up with his youngest aunt. The two often visited the country store in their community (Hustle, Va) together to buy penny candy and glass bottled sodas.

Buying candy back then wasn’t quite like buying it now. From what I understand, you could purchase candy bars or get penny candy. You could choose your own candy bars, but the store owner or employee chose your penny candy.

My dad was younger than my aunt. So while she rationed out her candy, he ate all of his. He started with his least favorite, the Mary Janes, and ended with one of his favorites, Squirrel Nut Zippers. Shortly after he ran out. He’d then attempt to figure out if my aunt still had candy.

She usually did.

It was then that my dad would start crying because he was out of candy. He performed so well, his grandfather would have his Mary Janesdaughter (my dad’s aunt) share her candy with him. Genius for my dad, but terrible for my aunt.

Surprisingly, some good did come out of all of this.

Inspiration through candy

Though my aunt ended many a trip to the store with less candy than she expected, I believe her selfless gesture inspired my dad.

Sunnyside has penny candy.

We offer all the greats we can find: Squirrel Nit Zippers, Tootsie Rolls and Toosie Roll Pops, Atomic Fire Balls, Smarties, even those Mary Janes my dad could have done without. They may cost a little more than a penny today, but they’ll take you back to a time you cherish.

Do you have a great penny candy story? Does it involve one of these greats? Share below.

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