Mr. George and the ten cent candy bars
As soon as the fair left town, we started thinking about Hallo-ween. I don’t remember talking about what we would be on October 31st. There was no-where in McDonough to buy a costume, even if you wanted one. Maybe in Griffin or Rich’s in downtown Atlanta but that wasn’t a very big concern especially with the boys.
Halloween was really simple back then. We would find some old clothes, maybe an old hat our fathers had and weren’t wearing. Our mother would put on that stuff that football and baseball players would wear under their eyes and that was it. Sometimes somebody would be a ghost but all you needed for that was a sheet with three holes in it. We were more interested in seeing how much candy we could get that night than what we looked like.
Our family lived on Bon Aire Drive as did many of my friends I grew up with; Andy Walker, Roger Hawkins, Marlin Miller, Bill Pipkin, Chris and Lloyd Hand, Ben Ogelsby and Joe Rainer. We would all cover Bon Aire Drive first, then on to Fairview Drive, over to Judy Drive and then back to Burke Circle.
The average take of candy was fairly normal except a few stops were different because of the rewards. The first one would be over on Cedar Street where Mrs. Mildred McKibben would be dressed as one of the best witches I had ever seen at the time and she had this big pot of ice-cold lemonade and Kool-Aid. At any rate we would look forward to visiting with her because we were ever so thirsty from eating all the candy that we had already consumed that night. As far as we knew she was the only one with cold drinks for us.
Leaving there we would go to the Square where the only place open at that time of night was The McDonough Theater where you would get a bag of popcorn for your treat. I can see Mr. Joe Maddox with a big grin on his face at the popcorn machine handing out bags to the trick or treaters.
By this time we were starting to get tired but we saved the best for the last. If you grew up in McDonough in the 1950s or 60s, you know exactly what I am talking about. Mr. George Alexander and his 10 cent candy bars. Mr. George was a kind and generous man and he gave away the biggest candy bars in town. Mr. George, as we called him, didn’t drive and he had a nice man named Jake that would drive him around. Jake lived on the property with Mr. George.
I can see Jake now opening the door and telling us to come right in. This was the moment we had waited all year for. They had the entire dining room table full of 10 cent candy bars. The best candy that money could buy. You could pick out the one you wanted. It was hard to make a choice.
When we left there we felt like we had been to the mountain top. It couldn’t get any better than this we thought. At this point we would start to head home. Once at home you would dump your bag of candy (usually an old pillowcase) and sit there and admire your take for the night knowing that it would be another year before you saw that much candy that belonged to you. If you had siblings like I did you had to find a good hiding place for your candy to keep them from getting to your find.
I heard on the news the other day that this year the average price of a Halloween costume is $78.12 per outfit. We spent nothing on our costume and had a million dollars’ worth of fun and memories. Happy Halloween Mr. George and Jake. See ya next year!
Jeff Reeves is a lifelong resident of McDonough and has recently joined the Times as an advertising sales representative. He and his wife Betsy have one son.