Column: Delivering the newspaper meant 'Candy Lady' visitsWORTHINGTON — In the long ago (was this before Noah?) — in the long ago, Daily Globe carrier boys set out these December Saturday mornings with their collection books and their empty carrier bags over their shoulders. The Daily Globe was two cents per copy and there were five editions each week, Monday-Friday. The weekly bill for subscribers was 10 cents.
By: Ray Crippen, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — In the long ago (was this before Noah?) — in the long ago, Daily Globe carrier boys set out these December Saturday mornings with their collection books and their empty carrier bags over their shoulders. The Daily Globe was two cents per copy and there were five editions each week, Monday-Friday. The weekly bill for subscribers was 10 cents.
Carriers went door to door on Saturday mornings collecting their dimes. They owed the Globe for the papers they delivered. After the paper bill was paid, all that was left was for the boys to keep.
There was no need for the carrier bags on a Saturday morning, save in December. Very many subscribers bought gifts for their carriers. Those gifts, very often, were boxes of chocolate-covered cherries. Brach’s chocolate cherries were 19-cents a box, maybe 29-cents a box. The cherries were a popular Christmas gift.
I had 60 or 65 customers. I would come to have six, maybe eight boxes of chocolate-covered cherries. Hence the carrier bag.
I never thought, I never lamented that I was getting too many boxes of cream-filled chocolate cherries. No one seemed to think it was possible to have too much candy.
With Thanksgiving gone by, people are heard to fuss about Christmas dinners. Should it be turkey again? Should it be ham? Everyone is caught up in Christmas traditions: “We always have a live tree…we always hang the red wreath in this window…we always wrap gifts in this week…we always order photo Christmas cards…we always bake Christmas cookies.”
For the generation who carried Daily Globes — they nearly all were boys, they were only 10 years old, or 12 years old because money was scarce — for the generation who carried Daily Globes, candy was the Christmas tradition. At Christmas time there always was lots of candy.
The paper routes were only one source. At the churches on Christmas Eve the brown paper bags were rolled out for all Sunday School students. There would be an orange and an apple. Nice. There would be in-the-shell peanuts. Good. There would be hard Christmas candy. Very, very good.
Do you remember those hard candies? There were the colorful ribbon candies, with stripes of red and white, or maybe red and white and green. The ribbons were a bit difficult to handle. You couldn’t pop them in your mouth and they made your hands sticky.
There were round peppermints that you could indeed pop in your mouth. Peppermints also had stripes of red and white. There were oval, hard red candies with soft fills, maybe raspberry-flavored candy with a raspberry-flavored fill. There were yellow candies with peanut butter fills.
There would be at least one candy cane of course, and maybe a butterscotch candy stick. There were candies with images of red stars or green wreaths that would go all through the centers.
Who could ask for anything more?
It wasn’t that we didn’t see candy other times of the year. There was candy at every five-and-dime. Everything was in bulk; nothing was bagged.
The candy bins with glass fronts would be in a row. There would be a bin of chocolate-covered peanuts, a bin of chocolate stars.
A bin of gum drops. A bin of jelly beans. Orange slices. Maybe a bin of root beer barrels. Coconut bon bons.
Candy was priced by the pound. I am quite certain I never bought a pound of chocolate-covered peanuts, but I was tempted. Price and reason usually dictated a dime’s worth.
I remember interviewing Olga Hagberg Fronk, who was manager of the candy counter at the Live Wire Variety. “They called me The Candy Lady,” Olga said. She came to know nearly every boy and girl in Worthington. She waited patiently while they made their decisions on how to spend their nickels and she weighed out their purchases.
Candy is so common place now that I doubt it seems a special treat to 12-year-olds.
And there haven’t been paperboys going door to door making their deliveries or collecting their dimes for many years.
Those who remember — well, they were the Sweetest Generation. For them, Christmas time will ever be thought of as candy time. Chocolate-covered cherry time.
Ray Crippen is a former editor of the Daily Globe. His column appears on Saturdays.