The Candy Counter


The following are excerpts from Eric Gulley's "Guinan's Story":

"My Guinan’s story is a childhood memory story. My folks bought a small summer place in Garrison in 1960, the year after Guinan’s opened. I was three years old at the time, so as far as I was concerned Guinan’s was always in existence....

What I remember most was a hulking freestanding wooden retail case with a glass front that resided about two-thirds of the way to the back of the store. It had rows for candy bars on top, which as I recall took a number of years for me to be able to reach, but it didn’t matter because kids were allowed to walk around to the back and make selections from inside the case, then bring the goods up to the counter to pay. Thinking back, the products I found so enticing were awful stuff, mostly.......candy dots on strips of paper, boxes of Cracker Jax and Good & Plenty, baseball playing cards packaged with cardboard-like chewing gum, and of course, candy cigarettes -- which in the 1960s were apparently considered completely benign even in the hands of tots.

Then, up to the counter we would march to count out a few coins settle up. The recipient of our wealth was usually Jim or Peg Guinan, but sometimes it was one of their kids, a couple of whom were not much older than I was. I remember Peg as a fairly no-nonsense lady, but Jim was always affable. Reading this website, it was a revelation to me to calculate that he was only in his 30s during most of this era, because to me he was always a friendly old Irishman....

Even as a child, I had some notion that Guinan’s was a distinctly rare, local institution – a dying retail model unlikely to play a role in the lives of my own children. Even then, I sensed the old wooden candy case was a lingering relic of a time gone by."

Eric Gulley February 4, 2008

Photo credits: Kelly Guinan

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