When was that?
I can’t recall the first time at all. Is that a sign of early dementia?
Early Memories of Lollies and School in Australia
I do recall buying a lolly, at four years. I was given a meagre amount of pocket money to buy lollies and firecrackers at the small old-style convenience shop next to my school.
I’d be considered a child at risk if I replicated that scenario, today. The frame of history makes that particular reflection socially acceptable. It is worth noting that the pocket money was also for the purposes of buying a slate pencil and eraser as that was of the utmost importance to my attending school. Such were the days.
It was the mid-1960s. We’d just moved interstate where I had already commenced school, as a pupil in level Prep. Perhaps my Mother didn’t want me to have me sitting around at home as we were, after all, living at my Grandmother’s house, temporarily.
Whatever the reasons, I was sent to school and placed in primary Year 1, as Queensland had no prep year at that time. I was still only four years old, and turning five soon. I had skipped a full year of school, which gave me the dubious honour of being the youngest child to ever attend that particular Primary School. Surprisingly, I coped.
But, I have digressed. Back to the lolly.
Lollies were often 2 for 1 cent when purchased individually from the corner stores.
My all-time favourite was an OSO lolly. It was oval and orange, about 3 cm in length. A flavoured gelatin lolly, tasting of orange favouring and an abundance of sugar, of course. It had OSO in raised letters on one side. The memory of savouring this is strong, even after 55 years.
Osos would slowly dissolve in the mouth into a sticky gooey mass. In the process drip feeding sugar to the body. Sucking it slowly was ideal for soothing an inflamed throat. Better still was that sudden burst of energy, the short-lived sugar high that was OH So Good. Is that where the lolly’s name originated? Oh….SO…. And the word, ‘good,’ was dropped as it was too long to be stamped into that size lolly?
For years, I have searched for replica versions of that sweet, even internationally, thinking that perhaps vintage-style lolly shops might stock my childhood favourite. Alas, I never have found any at all. Osos have been relegated to history. Obsolete.
In a nod to the Oso, I snavel every orange-coloured snake out of Allen’s Snakes packet and eat them before they disappear- oh so good.
Differing Names for Sweets
Lollies have different names depending on where you live – sweets in England, candy in America and a range of crazy names in Denmark. The generic Danish equivalent of the word lolly or candy is slik, but individually the Danes have lollies or slik with some quirky names. Names designed to appeal to kids’ quirky humour, translated into Danish of course. Imagine entering a shop and asking, as Danish children do, for a few ‘Dog Farts‘. Or hearing children in a playground discuss their favourites – “I absolutely love eating Pigeon droppings,” – this is the translation to English, of course.
This reminds me of a story about children and Danish lollies.
Danish and possibly some Dutch lollies have a strong aniseed or sour flavour. I am not a fan, although the sour Danish lollies are fun, for a prank. Each year, my kind Danish friends and family would send bags of them to Australia, usually at Xmas, or Easter. It was a very kind gesture particularly as shipping became so expensive, in later years.
My son was the only family member who could, or would eat, the sour lollies, but there were way too many, even for his sweet tooth. He’d take them to school in his lunchbox. At lunch break, he’d announce to his ten-year-old classmates that he had lollies to share.
He’d be mobbed in seconds.
Kids would form a pack around him like bees anxious to reach the hive. “Only take one,” my son would warn, holding out the lolly bag out for them to help themselves.
The greedy kids suffered the most, determined to scoff a good handful into their mouths at once. They seemed frightened of losing one or two, to a fellow schoolmate if they held back.
Seconds later, they’d realise their mistake and immediately stop chewing.
Turning a murky tangerine colour, their face would twist into a grimace. Gagging noises resembling a meat mincer that’s jammed while processing a piece of gristle, could be heard across the playground. With eyes watering, the boys would rush towards the water bubblers to wash away the foul-tasting lolly.
Strangely, only one or two kids, came back for seconds.
What was your first memory of eating a lolly, sweet or candy?