Monday, September 15, 2008

You Could Get Me A Chunky . . .

When I was a little kid, ten or so, one of my older sisters dispatched me to the corner store (the old North Forty convenience store on the corner of Ion and Yellowstone; it's a vacant lot now) to buy her one of these:

She wanted to cut the wrapper and post it below a picture of her boyfriend. Had she told me that, the name of the candy might have stuck in my head a bit firmer. But since I was a clueless kid with a bad memory, this is what I came home with:

It just wasn't the same. I got hollered at. Mom came to find out what the hollering was about. In a true example of parents not wanting justice but quiet, my sister was dispatched to the store to buy her own Big Hunk, while I was left at home, consoled with the Chunky I'd brought home.

Ah, those childhood memories . . .

We spent a lot of money at that store. I clearly recall one day riding my hideous, orange, banana-seated bicycle to North Forty, my backpack heavy with glass pop bottles to redeem, ten cents each. A bolt broke on my seat (the bike's not my personal seat) and the seat fell off. I landed on the backpack. Nothing broke. Why the clerks at the store bothered with us little kids returning pop bottles all the time, I'll never know. They were money, I suppose. Some states today offer that same kind of redemption on plastic obblte, 5 cents, 7 sents, or so. Not where I live. So that source of ready cash, for kids who didn't get an allowance, is dried up. Now my oldest gets an allowance, but he's not interested in going down to the corner store for candy. He's saving up for a $90 Lego Indiana Jones kit. He's much more focused than I was. He would have brought his sister home the Big Hunk.

The store suffered an odd fate. For a while, it shared the building with a Kirby vacuum dealership. Then the dealership left, and the other half of the building was turned into a video arcade. Then, for some reason, the building was literally sawed in half, with half of the building residing behind a house off First Street. The other half doggedly hung on in its original configuration for a while, but then it was destroyed to make way for . . . nothing. I still drive by there now, wondering what happened. I miss its old neon (yay! neon!) "North 40" sign, vaguely remember when it had one of those "Union '76" orange balls hovering above it. Now it's all in my head, vying for space with the other random memories I have.

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