For our prompt of “Candy” today, I doodled a vintage candy dispenser from the decade just before I was born. Though a nickel seems cheap for a handful of candy these days, there were actually penny machines prior to these. I never got to experience those as by the 70’s the nickel machines were the only ones left and they were soon replaced with dimes and then quarters. The candy was indeed colorful, but it was just a hard lump of sugar and I didn’t really even like them all that much as a kid. The machine was the cool part and it was exciting to pay for something all by myself, slide a little lever, and open the tiny door to receive my reward. It was a magical experience that made the candy taste way better than it should. And, it felt good to go back in time today and experience something wonderful from the past. Okay, distant past, but it’s not polite to talk about age like that.

In truth, I’ve always had an interest in machines that make something tangible happen. Sure, getting a fistful of candy is cool, but more recently, Philippe and I used a kiosk to create an extra house key. I was so excited by the process that I wanted to make more keys! I began asking Philippe what other keys we might need in the future. Sensible as ever, he reminded me that this was the only key we needed at the moment, and I was momentarily saddened by his lack of imagination. Though, he was totally right, of course, as is often the case when my childish exuberance takes over and I begin requesting silly needless things. I then spied another machine to make tags for the dog and pointed at it gleefully as though the next step was completely obvious. Again, I was met with a kind, but sensible stare that told me the dog didn’t need a new tags at the moment.

I don’t mind being denied these silly little pleasures, as like most things, it’s just fun to imagine sometimes. This didn’t stop me from shopping for one of these machines, though, as I’ve always wanted one of my own. I doubt I’ll be able to convince Philippe that we need one, but I’m still working on my sales pitch for that. Yet, I really just love going back in time to imagine life when I was a little kid. It wasn’t perfect, as no time ever is, but there are so many wonderful memories that come flooding back to me. That’s the thing about time, the best memories are the ones that our hearts hold onto the tightest. Going back is like visiting the best bits that life has to offer and being once again reminded that life always has good things to offer each and every day. Certainly, much has changed in the world since that time. But, for me, I love knowing that once upon a time happiness was nothing more than a few bits of candy I could hold in my hand. And, it was all made possible with just one nickel.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, Vermilion, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink  in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Candy Dispenser Gumball Hard Candy Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


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34 thoughts on “Just One Nickel

  1. Well, your birthday is just past (almost the end of your birthday month!), so you have almost a whole year to convince Philippe you need this machine for your next birthday. It never hurts to be proactive.

  2. Yep, I remember the one cent machines from the 1950s. I would be allowed to buy one every week when my family went grocery shopping. Outside the store there were also a couple mechanical horses – for a dime a kid could ride for a couple of minutes as the horse seemed to be galloping! This was big entertainment back then.

  3. Giant Jaw Breakers. That’s what I remember wanting from these machines. If you put the tips of your thumb and middle finger together, that’s about the size of the candy. And solid so you couldn’t bite it. So you had to suck it, and chip little bits off with your teeth until it was small enough to bite. They didn’t taste the best, but they were giant and that was the fun part.

  4. Wow! Nice sketch! That’s a lot of candies to sketch. I don’t recall buying candy from machines like that, just gumballs. I’m from the generation before you. 😉 We bought our candy from the corner store. They had a low counter so we could see the penny candy behind the counter. My favorite….the Easter egg maltball eggs. Nothing like the ones you get today. Oh, the wax lips, finger tips……hahaha.

  5. ahem, I remember the penny machines (i probably just read about them …Ha!)
    Not only did you get a handful of candy for a penny, you got a plastic ‘prize’ My favorites
    were the ones that glowed in the dark. They were treasures.
    This article makes me realize how old I am, and then it makes me feel like a kid again.

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