A lot of my childhood memories seem to revolve around candy. Earlier, I wrote about Christmas Ribbon candy, and how it reminds me of my grandmother. Canada Mints, specifically the pink Wintergreen mints, are another candy that invoke memories of my grandmother.
I haven’t actually seen Canada Mints since the late 1970s, although they are still available. I guess I’ve never really looked for them. Canada Mints have been around since the late 1880s when the original peppermint-flavored white wafers were introduced in Canada. The popular mint made its way to America in 1908 and was an instant hit in this market. The mints are made by the Necco Company, and are available in peppermint (white mints) and wintergreen (pink mints).
My grandmother kept a bowl of pink wintergreen mints on the dresser in her bedroom. She most likely kept them there either so she could have minty fresh morning breath before she had a chance to brush her teeth; or as an aid for indigestion. But, to a kid of 6 or 7, the reason she kept a bowl of these mints in her bedroom didn’t matter. I just knew that she had a heaping bowlful of sugary goodness in her bedroom, and I wanted it.
Whenever we visited, the first thing my brother and I did was head to Grandma’s bedroom to get some mints. The mint smell mingled with the talcum powder smell in her bedroom, and created a unique scent that I can only associate with my grandmother. We, my brother and I, were only allowed to have two mints apiece. I would suck on each one, savoring the minty-ness, making it last as long as I could. My brother was content to crunch on each piece, and then try to sneak back into Grandma’s bedroom to get more.
As I got older, I wasn’t as interested in getting this sugary treat from my grandmother’s room, although I still enjoyed the mints at her house from time to time. She passed away in 1993, and it had probably been 15 or so years before that since we last shared these mints, but I still think about the bowl of pink candy on her dresser.