I was thinking about "patience" today and I thought, "What could require more patience than to serve children in a candy store?"
Actually, I didn't think "candy store," but "sweet shop," and my mind wandered back through many decades, to the 1950's in Alvechurch, the Worcestershire village in England, in which I grew up.
There were several sweet shops in the village, but the quintessential sweet shop belonged to Miss Twitty. The lamp post in this photograph is right in front of what used to be her sweet shop, at the bottom of Bear Hill.
Miss Twitty worked in this little shop for 34 years; from 1929, when the previous owners retired, to 1963, and she had bought it in 1933. Thirty four years of serving the children of the village.
I only knew her for the last 4 of her years in the shop, but they were the years I grew from 9 years old to 13--so they were significant and she was imprinted on my memory of childhood.
Miss Twitty wore her steel gray hair parted on the side and cut in a chin length bob. Blue gray beady eyes peered from behind glasses perched on the nose of a sharp featured face.She was thin and angular; all shoulders and elbows.
Her sitting room was to the right of the shop door and she would emerge from there on hearing the chime of the door bell.
How often I stood in front of her counter, gazing at the jars full of old fashioned sweets: Lemon drops; flying saucers (rice paper discs filled with sherbet;) toffees; liquorice; dolly mixture; sweet tarts; jelly babies; aniseed balls; pineapple rock; an array of Cadbury chocolate bars; and ice lollies and ice creams in the freezer.
I was painfully shy and my voice shrank to a whisper when addressing Miss Twitty. I can only imagine how she must have had to strain to hear me squeaking out my order, having deliberated for an eternity on what it would be; finally turning over the coins that had been clutched in my hot and sweaty fist. What patience she must have had with the children, for these were serious decisions requiring much thought; long staring at the jars of sweets and many changed minds.
Miss Twitty's sweet shop is memorialized on one of the park benches on the village green.