A Gumball for You and You and You

My children often ask for some change so they can get a gumball out of the candy machines at the exits of stores.

I rarely have any money on me as I am accustomed to paying for everything with a debit or credit card.

The other day when we were exiting the grocery store they asked if they could get a gumball. I quick answered “no” because as per usual I knew I didn’t have any quarters in my purse. I then stopped and remembered I had a dollar bill in my wallet. I walked across the length of the store over to the customer service desk. I waited in line. I asked the lady behind the counter for 4 quarters in exchange for my dollar. She gave them to me and then the kids and I walked back across the store to the gumball machine.

I did this because I remember.

I remember being a little kid and going to The White Store with my mom. It was a clothing store in our town. It was kind of a fancy store.  The smell of new hit you when you walked in. The floors were carpeted in a plush dark green. The walls were papered with gold and cream stripes. All of the clothes hung perfectly organized and straight on their racks. The mannequins wore perfectly assembled outfits fit for a glamorous girl ready to go to work or out for the evening. In the middle of the store was an elaborate glass showcase filled with beautiful jewelry. The store clerks were always eager to show you a tray of rings or help you find the perfect bracelet.

I hated this store. It was so boring to me to have to walk around and look at clothes. It was torture to have to be quiet and not run around. Admittedly, we did not shop there too often. It was only when they were running sales or someone in the family needed something for a special occasion.

In my eyes there was only one good thing about an outing to The White Store. I always knew on the way out my mom would let me get a gumball from the little red machine sitting in the entrance way. I remember the gumballs had the word FORD printed on them in white. I always wondered why. I remember always hoping I didn’t get black and more times than not I ended up with black. It tasted like black licorice. I would have rather had the purple one with the grape flavor but I never complained. I was just happy I got to turn the crank and hold my hand out waiting for the gumball to roll down the tunnel.

So that is why I walked across the store to retrieve some quarters for my kids. I hope someday they remember the times their mom gave them each a quarter so they could turn the crank and watch the gumball travel down the chute and then place a gumball so huge in their mouth that they could barely close their lips around it. I hope they remember they got the good ones; the purple with grape flavor.

1984 My Dad and I all set to go to the Father/Daughter dance. I'm wearing a dress from The White Store

1984 My Dad and I all set to go to the Father/Daughter dance. I’m wearing a dress from The White Store

46 responses

  1. SO SWEET! I loved the story! I don’t ever remember my mom letting me get a quarter size gum ball. Maybe it was because I swallowed a tootsie pop and was rushed to the doctor with the stick half way down my throat!

  2. Melissa, this post hit close to home! I never carry cash or change in my wallet either. One day, while we were at the grocery store, my son was crying for a gumball as we were about to leave. So, I went to the car and dug up a quarter. He was the happiest little boy when that red gumball came out of the dispenser. I’m sure your kids will remember all the times you let them have this special treat too! 🙂

    • I was wondering if other parents faced the same dilemma as me as not having change on them very often. In this day and age not too many people pay with cash and I’m assuming lots of little kids are missing out on one of those simple little pleasures! I need to make an effort to keep some change in my wallet!

  3. It’s all about the small things when you are a child isn’t it. Things…moments that hopefully they will remember when they are older. Special, priceless little spots of joy. 🙂 Look at you in your pretty white dress and your dad awwwww ! xx

  4. now that’s a much better way to think of those requests than how I have been seeing them lately (which is “dear Lord! stop your whining. you know you don’t need any more sugar or some cheap piece of jewelry that you will lose in the car on the way home!!!!) Perhaps it is time for me to re-evaluate! 🙂 Thanks for putting it in perspective.

  5. Aw so sweet. Hey, do yours drop the gumball on the floor too? I show them how to catch them by placing their hand beneath the door but…

    • Oh yes, it’s the worst when it is actually more than one thing that comes out too…like a handful of skittles or something! They all fall on the ground! But considering this is usually a rare treat that I have some coin on me they quickly scramble to pick them up and stuff them in their mouth!!

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