Tuesday, 1 November 2011

THE GREAT CANDY CONTEST OF 1967.

Now that all the trick-or-treating is over, children across North America have an ample supply of goodies. Even so, parents usually dole out candies, peanuts, and other snacks to their children during the first weeks of this month. Though kids would rather eat as much of their halloween swag as they want, they understand that this rationing is for their own good.

In this excerpt from Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), my fellow dorm mates and I received the rare privilege of keeping all of our halloween stash. This is what we wisely decided to do with our windfall.

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Those of us who were new to the dorm felt pleasantly surprised when no supervisor confiscated our goodies. For the first time at Jericho, the authorities actually trusted us with our Halloween treats. I stashed mine in my locker and rejoiced that my candies were not seized "for my own good."

"I don't know about you guys but I'm going to try and make my candies last," I announced the next evening.

"Yeah, let's have a contest to see who can make theirs last the longest," Geoffrey encouraged. All four of us roommates agreed and carefully hoarded our bootie. Though we had a monumental struggle to resist the siren call of the treats in our lockers, I felt proud of myself for being one of the last to run out of candy.

I grudgingly ate the apples first to prevent them from going bad, remembering all those "starving children in India" lectures from grownups. Apples weren't much of a treat compared to chocolates, popcorn balls, peanuts, caramel kisses, and other sweets but they were better than nothing.

This process of sorting and hoarding taught me to conserve my candy and make it last for a couple of weeks. Every single one of us prized the privilege of being trusted with our treats and did not want to lose it by becoming ill from overeating.

We did, however, yield to temptation in another matter. Weeks passed as we waited impatiently for someone to collect the UNICEF money boxes. I felt no qualms when I spent those pennies since I rationalized we were needy children too and deserved the cash. The other boys shamelessly spent their UNICEF donations as well.

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Deliverance from Jericho is filled with many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Read more about Deliverance from Jericho here. Please feel free to contact me directly as well.