Aunt Dorothy’s Christmas candy

I’ve often said every kid should have a single aunt.
Ours was Aunt Dorothy, my mother’s sister.
Aunt Dorothy brought into our world all the things our mom could not afford.
In the ‘50s, our family had four kids and a dad who worked factory jobs and was often laid off, but still our eldest sister was known as the “best dressed little girl in kindergarten.” That was Aunt Dorothy’s doing.
One thing we always found at Aunt Dorothy’s that we never saw at ours was candy. At Aunt Dorothy’s, there was a fancy dish of candy on every table, two or three on her coffee table. Never were they more inviting than at Christmas.
I can’t say why, but I’m thinking of Aunt Dorothy’s Christmas candy this morning.
I’m not talking candy canes either. I’m talking things like bon bons. Remember those? They were balls of sweet coconut, covered in “chocolate”. They came in different colors – brown, white, pink, yellow – but all tasted the same. I loved them.
Then there was ribbon candy, hard candy in the shape of a ribbon. And clear toy candy. These came in shapes like little rocking horses or teddy bears. There was a variety of colors but all had the same flavor: sugar.
I also recall something Aunt Dorothy called “hard tack.” These were all sorts of bite-sized things. My favorite were the ones shaped like raspberries. I always felt there were never enough of those. And too many peppermints.

Ed Ackerman