We would spend ages analysing the selection of lollies and determining the best value for money. At this time, most of the lollies were two for a cent. The shop assistant would take a small white bag and then add our selection. I remember it went something like this; "Can I please have freckles, um bullets, and ah, cobbers, and bananas, no, not bananas, teeth aaaannnnnddddd musk sticks. That's all, thank you." Such decisions! And those little fizzy lollies in a clear wrapper were often in the mix since you got so many for 1 cent. Sometimes, we took 'pot luck' and simply asked for a 10cent bag of mixed lollies which meant the shop assistant made the selection.
On other days we spent our cash on little coloured umbrellas coated in sugar, the hard liquorice ChooChoo Bar which left our tongues coated in black, Fags (later called Fads) which I thoroughly enjoyed but did not encourage me to smoke, Metro gum and Big Charlie Bubble Gum. And yes, I loved to blow big bubbles; a disgusting habit!
In summer there was a rush to buy Sunny Boys and their cousins Razz and Glug. As soon as we left the milk bar we would stand outside tearing the foil back off the ice block with our teeth and then removing the ice from the package, straining to read the print on the inside. If you were lucky, there was the chance to win another Sunny Boy. I clearly remember standing out the front of the milk bar with my brother and my friends, excitedly checking to see if we were winners. If we won, we would quickly re-enter the shop to redeem immediately. I don't remember ever taking the foil home to redeem at a later time so I guess instant gratification was alive and well in the '70's!
Milkbars also sold more expensive ice creams from Peters and Streets. It wasn't often that I had the money to buy these but favourites were Two-in-ones (two sticks probably seemed like great value!), Hearts, Eskimo Pies (not so great if you bit the foil though!), Paddle Pops and their cheaper counterpart Barney Banana. I still recall the advertisement for "Barney Banana, 10 cents!" And of course there were milkshakes, newspapers, cigarettes, butter, cream and Marchant's and Tarax Lemonade.
Milk bars have largely gone these days, replaced by convenience stores and supermarkets. There is a milk bar still in operation near my son's house and I pop in there when I visit to buy a packet of fruit tingles or a newspaper. Just hearing the little bell ring as I open the door to the shop brings back a flood of milk bar memories.
What's your favourite memory of your local milk bar?