So when my neighborhood had all its, um, problems, one of the biggest sources stemmed from a “candy shop” across the street. When it first opened, it was truly a candy shop for kids – there were always tons of candy wrappers on my yard.
But then, things changed. The shop in question was bright pink, operated strange hours, covered up the windows with blackout curtains and shooed children away. The one time I ventured inside, the bare shelves boasted a few dusty cans of soup, a small fridge with cans of grape soda, and a few t-shirts and hoodies for sale. And lots of annoyed looks from the proprietress at my presence.
Plus, it was the only drive-up candy shop I’ve ever seen! Cars would pull up, and someone would race to the driver’s window, and perform the transaction. They must have had call-ahead service!
Eventually things changed again, for the better. And the neighborhood quieted down. Kids started playing on the block again. It was great.
But now a new sweet shop has opened around the corner. And it reminds me of the old one. Which leads me to ask – why a candy shop as a ruse? Why take something so innocent and retro – heck, my small town never had a candy shop when I was a kid – and turn it into something so putrid? When I first bought my house – and closed on the same day as the pink shop’s grand opening – I thought to myself, “How quaint. How suburban. How nice for kids, to have someplace in the neighborhood where they can spend their allowance money on candy.” Growing up in a cornfield subdivision that was miles from anything, I embraced the idea of an older neighborhood designed to allow residents to walk to their needs – and let kids do the same.
So why ruin that nostalgia with something so tawdry?
Hopefully I’m wrong. Maybe it really is just a candy shop, with its hand-made signs and shaded windows. Maybe they’re trying to keep the sun out, not prying eyes.