Christine Schoenwald

Christine Schoenwald
Location
Glendale, California, United States
Birthday
September 29

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Salon.com
MAY 16, 2011 8:09PM

I Want Candy

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I need to confess something. It isn’t pretty. You will definitely think less of me.
Let me give you some background first, some understanding of the why. I grew up in a household without food. We weren’t poor: we were just dieting.

My Mother watched what we ate. Tall and slender, she intended to stay that way and now, at 86, she pretty much has. Kudos, Mom. My mother can make a meal out of plain lettuce and dry Melba toast and declare it delectable. In addition to her “healthy food “ thing, she is also opposed to what she calls “chemicals,” which translated means Saccharine. Long, long ago there was a delicious beverage called “Pepsi Light.” “Pepsi Light” was a diet soda but it didn’t taste like a diet soda, it tasted like nectar. Secretly, I would buy “Pepsi Light” on the black market, AKA the grocery store.

Knowing I couldn’t keep it in the family fridge (though there was plenty of room) I kept it hidden in my closet in a shoe-box, like how some people hide their porn.
Alone at night, I would enjoy a can of the delicious (though room temperature) lemony elixir, feeling both at peace and sugar free like how some people enjoy their porn.

Then one awful, horrible day, my mother discovered my “Pepsi Light” stash. Calmly she removed the contraband from the closet, walked down the hall to the bathroom and emptied all twelve cans – several shoe boxes worth – into the toilet, flushing that deliciousness away forever.

Curse you Mother! How I mourned the loss of my drink, my special treat and knew how Christina Crawford must have felt. My mommie dearest had destroyed the only fake sugar item I would ever love.

Junk food was also on my mother’s least wanted list. We only had potato chips in the pantry for when she made her tuna casserole, badly. At my friend Dena Tuttle’s house they had every snack treat and all the cool board games. I tried to go there as often as possible. “Why yes, I DO want to play “Operation” and eat Strawberry Zots.”

Now my mother wasn’t completely cruel. I was allowed to go trick or treating and get candy that way. But she would just take most of the good candy: your Snickers, your Mars bars and your Butterfingers. She liked sweets, she liked them a lot, hence the reason we couldn’t have any in our house. Since this was one of the few approved ways to get candy, I went trick or treating well into college.

Candy became my drug of choice. I would search high and low for sweets. When I found them, I would revere them but consume them hastily, not daring to get caught holding a Blow Pop or Jolly Rancher Fire Stix.


From about age 8 to age 11 my Mother’s friend Celia would give me a Gingerbread House decorated with jelly-beans, melt-away mints and flavorful hard candies. The house looked so beautiful the two and half seconds before I attacked it. When I turned 11 Celia declared – perhaps at my mother’s insistence? - that I was too old for Gingerbread houses and stopped giving them to me. Did she not know me at all? I would never be too old for candy. Devastated, I realized I could no longer depend on the kindness of semi- strangers to feed my habit.

Taking matters into my own hands, I sought out a more direct way to get my fix. I found other candy addicts or cand-dicts. Monica was one such friend and we would ride our bikes to Bergman’s Dept. store jonsing for the junk. Upon arrival we would go directly upstairs to the candy-counter, not even stopping at the notions department. Once there we would choose whatever our candy theme of the day was: mint and chocolate, peanut butter and chocolate, and chocolate and chocolate.

With our bags of confections, we headed to the lanai area of Bergman’s. We would sit by the “not cleaned nearly enough” carp pond, eat our chocolate and get sugar high.

You don’t see your department store lanais much anymore. They seem to have gone the way of jelly glasses and Whatchamacallit bars.

When my mother sent me to fat camp in ninth grade, instead of learning good eating habits that would last a lifetime, I learned how to shoplift extra large bags of M&Ms and oversized Hershey bars from our weekly jaunts into town. Skills that might come in handy later in candy rehab.

What I’m getting at is that the getting of candy is very important to me.

My mother was never one for (her words) over-doing things. In her mind, it was perfectly acceptable the evening before Easter Sunday to go out into the backyard and carelessly throw various chocolate Easter eggs, bunnies, peeps and jelly beans in the garden. By the time Easter morning rolled around the candies would be covered in dew, dead bugs and snail trail.

Sometimes the actual snail would be stuck to the candy goodness – talk about
un-appetizing. When I actually chose to throw the candy away rather than consume it, you know there was a problem.

Ok here comes my confection confession that will make you look at me askance.

I am the Easter Grinch; well, I am the wannabe Easter Grinch. My fantasy, since I was a little girl was to wake up very early Easter morning and go to other kids houses and steal their Easter. Take the gorgeous Easter baskets, and the yummy Easter candy and even the super fun Easter toys. Take them and keep them for myself. I wouldn’t go to the poor neighborhoods, not because I cared about the poor but because they usually hide their Easter goodies inside and also I want top quality Easter treats.

I wouldn’t just hit one house or two; I would hit whole neighborhoods - Larchmont, done, Brentwood, done. Even parts of Los Feliz. I would take their Easter and finally I would have perfect candy that would be mine all mine. “You’re a sly one, Easter Grinch!”

I bet I could get my cat Yoshi to put on some antlers and be my assistant. Luckily he doesn’t like candy or we might have a problem.

Oh and Bow Wow Wow- you are mistaken. Candy is not better when its wrapped in a sweater. Candy is best unwrapped, and waiting to be eaten just the way some people like their porn.

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Comments

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Classic, classic, candylassic. I think much more of you after this entry, not less. Besides, your sugar stories so much mirror my own growing up. Bravissimo.
Vanessa, I think we are candy-sisters!!
sweet sensation!!!