“Whoever said ‘it’s easier than taking candy from a baby’ has never actually tried taking candy from a baby.”
It’s rather embarrassing to admit, but when I was young boy, I had a problem with sharing. Particularly when it came to candy. Don’t get me wrong, I had no problem sharing what I didn’t want (broccoli, chores, blame) but when it came to sweets, it brought out a shrewd guardian impulse. Our family vacations to the Oregon Coast invariably brought us to Seaside, and the abundant candy shops on Broadway seemed like a new frontier for my sweet tooth. Walking into Phillips Candies was how I would imagine an art historian would feel when walking into the Louvre. There was a festival of choices and aromas: warm caramel corn cooling in the big glass container, the slightly buttery vanilla scent of saltwater taffy.
My mom would tell me I could “choose just one”. The definition of “just one” was kind of flexible: “just one” singular gummy bear or “just one” piece of saltwater taffy? That would be cruel and ludicrous. Could the definition be pushed to “just one . . . BAG” of gummy bears or saltwater taffy? Most of the time it could. After agonizing over the decision over what to choose, I would exit as a very satisfied customer.
I remember strolling down Broadway, my sister and her friend caught up to us from wherever older sisters and their friends ran off too. “Whad’ya get?” they asked, inspecting my small bag of taffy. This seemed like a sinister inquiry and I did not like where this line of questioning was headed.
“Uh, nothing much” I replied.
“Can we try some?” Rather than addressing me, the rightful owner of the candy, my sister spoke over my head to my mom. Against my will, I was made to share. When my sister and her friend plunged their hands into my taffy bag (it seemed they were almost elbow deep) they pulled their hands out brimming with huge, ungainly portions.
Panicked, I’d protest: “Wait, wait, wait, wait!” They would laugh and sprint off towards the beach and my heart would sink. My taffy bag felt woefully deflated. After many instances of being forced to share, I finally learned a loophole in sharing sweets: there were certain types that simply did not lend themselves to division among family members. From then on I would discipline myself in only choosing giant jaw breakers.
I was not a shining example of generosity, but it definitely taught me a lesson in strategic planning. The other day I wandered into Schwietert’s Cones & Candy in downtown Seaside and chose a brimming bag of dark chocolate covered blueberries. I’m happy to report that I shared with everyone in my group. Though to be honest, there was still a shrewd little kid voice in my head that was hoping they wouldn’t take too much.
Do you have any memories surrounding the candy shops in Seaside? We would love to hear them!
Nate Burke is an information specialist for the City of Seaside Visitors Bureau happy to share all that’s great about Seaside. Just be cautious when asking him for candy!