Summer Treats and Trinkets

Summer Treats and Trinkets

With summer coming to an end, I am reminded of some of the little treats and trinkets that I would frequently get at the local convenience store every summer.


There was a convenience store about half a block from my house when I was in 2nd-5th grade (inclusive), it was originally called “Little Shopper” (though I believe they did one of those “cute and clever” things of shortening it to “li’l” or some such) though it was soon turned into a Country Fair branch. Whenever I would get some pocket change I would head over and look around the cheap candy to see what kind of sugar rush I could get.

The mini jawbreakers (Jaw Busters) blew my young mind, wondering how something roughly the size of M&Ms could supposedly break your jaw. They were nice and fruity, and the flavors changed as the candy layers dissolved. Alexander The Grape’s name lured me in, exactly as such a name is designed to (plus the fact that I love grape flavored stuff). They were decent, but nothing to write home about, but I still got them regularly. The Now & Later candies were like Starburst, only harder and more …waxy.. flavored. I didn’t care much for most of the flavors (in part because the waxy flavor seemed stronger in them), but I did love the yellow and pink swirled ones (lemon and strawberry were the flavors, I believe) and got them on most of my visits. I also would often get one of the siren whistles pictured top-right. These were simple plastic tubes with a metal spinning disc in the middle, almost exactly like an old-fashioned siren, they were very loud, especially for their size. The bird whistle wasn’t something I was ever able to find at that store, but I would frequently get them at a similar store near where I lived in first grade. The way they worked was that you would fill them with water and then blow into their tail, this resulted in a warbling sound, much like a real songbird. With most of them you wouldn’t get any audible sound if you blew them without water, but some of them would make a loud high-pitched shriek if you blew hard enough when they were empty.

There were of course many more treats and trinkets that I often got as a kid, but most were either too insignificant to mention, or too significant to not have their own article *cough*Garbage Pail Kids*cough*, whereas these five items were baby-bear-porridge “just right”. ;)

Still… I might do some follow-up articles on some of those other things….


Team Retroist Chief Nostalgia Psychic...

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Wow! Mystery solved! Thanks for mentioning those plastic bird whistles! I never knew you were supposed to add water. I remeber our elementary school would have a “fall festival” and i would always com home with one or two of those whistles. No one ever told us you should add water so me and the gang just thought they were just cheap defective plastic. :) Now i want to find one and try it out again!

  2. My family used to go to a restaurant and if you were a kid and cleaned your plate, they would give you a coin and you could bring that to the cashier who would let you look through this large wooden treasure chest and select one toy. I picked up at least a half-dozen of these birds over the years. I loved them.

  3. Almost the only time I ever encountered the bird whistles was at that one store when I was in first grade. I got several during that year & kept them for many years after, but only ever saw new ones 2 or 3 times in the nearly 30yrs since.
    When I first got one I experienced the same “wtf, this must be cheap/broken”, but my mother informed me of the putting water in. I thought she was joking or something “put WATER in a WHISTLE?!”, but sure enough, it worked like a charm.

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