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Corner Store Loot

Do you remember your childhood corner store?

I had the great luxury of growing up one street over from 2 corner stores, both with incredible candy counters. And as luck or good competitive knowledge would have it, each store carried a different selection of treats from the other. Oh yeah, baby!

We didn’t have much money as kids, but we were blessed with a saint-of-a-neighbour who would regularly give us his pocket change. After a hurried “thank you”, my sister Nan and I and our best friends Johanne and Sylvie would jump on our bikes with our precious coins safely tucked away, and pedal like the wind to the first store. This is when the heavy-duty decision-making would start. How will I spend my money? Will I spend it all here or save some for the second store? What’s everybody else going to do?

I believe that I honed my math problem skills with those trips to the store, by figuring out how to get the best value for my little budget of coins. Back in those days, many types of candy often came 3 or 5 for a penny, so it was possible to get a good haul for a few cents. And then there was the consideration of how to make the candy last until the next time Mr. Larue would give us more change. Some candy ate faster than others. Some, like gum and wax lips, you couldn’t eat at all. Oh, the calculations!

But there was nothing more satisfying than when the shop owner would open up a little brown paper bag for each of us, start putting our choices inside, and then hand the bag over the counter to us. We’d pop one candy in our mouth to fuel the bike ride to the next store or home. Bliss!

Once home on my back porch step, we’d show each other what we had selected. Sometimes trades would be made, other times shares and even a few fights broke out – I mean, this stuff was treasure! Many times we’d get inventive, like pooling our string licorice to make skipping ropes, which we’d use, and then eat. Who cares that we had to pick bits of gravel out of it!

So why am I telling you about these memories? They are all I could think about as I painted this 4″ x 4″ ink and watercolour – “Corner Store Loot”.

Corner Store Loot

Last year, I had bought some of the candy I used to love as a kid from a vintage candy store. I used some of these goodies in photo shoots for my corner store painting series. For fun I laid out some different compositions of the candy. I liked this one a lot, so I photographed it. I never intended for it to become a painting but one day I started sketching it… again for fun. All those childhood corner store trips came flooding back (which I always take as a good sign) and I kept on painting. A bit of a departure from my usual subjects, but like the others, packed full of sweet memories!

I’m curious – what was some of your favourite Corner Store Loot?

4″ x 4″ ink and watercolour

The original comes in a 12″ square white mat, ready for easy framing, and is now available here in my shop.

2 replies »

  1. I can remember a loaf of bread cost 19 cents so if I got sent to the store with 2 dimes to pick up bread then I had a whole penny to buy candy! But – If I was sent to the store with a quarter I had 6 pennies …I could last a whole week on that much candy!
    A full dollar (paper money back them) would just about make you sick with a sugar high. You always a shared with friends.
    A bottle of Coke was 7 cents and you got 2 cents left over on the bottle return to spend.
    Those corner stores were peppered thru out the city core. Life was so simple…

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