On Ainsworth Street in Tacoma, Washington I turned six years old, for my birthday I received a brown leather vest with fringe and a pocket. As I recollect this memory I recognize this may have been where a recurring theme began in my life (but that is for another post). Shortly after this birthday I started first grade (I am saving the story of entering kindergarten for my Valentines Day blog). I walked to school on my own each day. Stanley Elementary School was a very large imposing stone building with pillars at the entrance. The hallways were large and ominous. My parents were going through a divorce and several of my elder siblings were leaving home. My refuge during this period was the Corner store. Outside the store was friendly enough, however inside was better – warm, colorful and inviting. I felt welcome ,comfortable and safe. The Corner Store sat directly across the street from the school and became a regular stop before or after school. In the mornings or even the night before, I would search coat pockets and junk drawers for pennies. I was successful in my search often enough that stopping by the corner store became a routine activity. So many candies so little time. My favorite penny candies were anything in multiples. Chick O’ Sticks, Necco Wafers, Candy Charm bracelets, Clove Gum, Mary Jane’s, Coconut Watermelon Slices, Cherry Fizzie drink tablets, Atomic Fireballs and Hot Tamales just to name a few. Some of these clandestine treats representing my own small treasure, to share or not as the situation revealed. They stayed in my pocket to prevent the possibility of confiscation by teachers, being forced to share when I did not want to or some other such calamity. So many candies so many lessons. They were not in such profusion to be cause for alarm and they added a bright spot to a bleak period in my young history. Thank goodness for the bright spots.