Probably the closest I ever got to experiencing Heaven was hanging out at the beloved Candy Store of my childhood. Whenever I got my allowance every week I’d walk straight downtown to the Candy Store. They had a wall full of all the latest comic books. The first couple of comics I bought were 10 cents. This must have been around 1962, age 7. Then they raised the price to 12-cents, where it stayed for most of the rest of my comic-buying career.
Superman and Batman were my first choices, always. And all the related books. Superboy, Justice League of America, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, Legion of Superheroes, etc. But I’d also buy an occasional Green Lantern, Flash, Atom, Teen Titans or anything else with a hot cover. And if I could afford it I’d splurge and buy the big fat 25-cent Annuals.
After a couple years I got turned on to Spiderman, and completely switched over to Marvel. DC would always look hopelessly square after that. The Avengers were my favorite, with Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, etc.
And I’d always buy a candy bar to go with my comic book. 5-cents out the door. And I’d agonize over the decision: Chunkies versus Tootsie Rolls. Chunkies were better but Tootsie Rolls lasted longer (the old quality versus quantity debate).
Every now and then me and my buddies would sidle up to the counter of the Candy Store and order ice cold Cherry Cokes at the soda fountain. And we’d sit there on our stools, reading our comic books and feeling very worldly.
My family moved away from that town when I was 12. But when I graduated from high school at age 17, the first thing I did that summer was hitch hike back to my old childhood town. And the first place I went to visit was that great old Candy Store of my childhood. I couldn’t wait to buy a couple of comic books for old time’s sake, and sit there at the counter reading them while I quaffed an ice cold Cherry Coke.
So I was more than a little disappointed when I discovered that the beloved Candy Store of my childhood had been converted into a not-so-beloved Laundromat.
But at least I learned a valuable life lesson right off the bat:
Being an adult sucks.