Remembering June Morris and the Penny Candy Shop - 27 East

Remembering June Morris and the Penny Candy Shop

authorStaff Writer on Feb 27, 2024

June Morris and her store, the Penny Candy Shop, left an impression on children and their families across three generations — from those passing through Water Mill toward destinations farther west and east, to others who called the hamlet home.

Their memories of the shop are vibrant and have stayed with them over the decades. Earlier this month, nearly 1,200 people reacted to and commented on The Express News Group’s Facebook and Instagram solicitations for recollections — and they reminisced about not only the sweet treats themselves, but the woman behind the counter, too, who patiently doled out candies with a smile alongside her husband, Harvey.

These are some of their fondest memories.

“I used to ride my bike there with a friend after school. Sometimes we’d travel the train tracks to cut some corners, but we’d never tell our parents that. My favorite part of the store was hiding in the small aisles and scaring my friend as he would round the corner. Licorice and Bazooka gum were my go-to choices for candy.”
– Cait Jab

“I started working in The Penny Candy Store in 1972 when I was 14 years old. I worked there all through high school. Mr. and Mrs. Morris were like an extra set of parents to me. I have so many memories of them that I could write a book. Mr. Morris joked for years that he was still finding jelly beans from a huge box that I spilled all over the back room one day. But my biggest memories of Mrs. Morris have to do with what a classy lady she was. From her perfectly done hair to her Pendleton sweaters and “Think Snow” pins, she had a signature fashion style. Most people don’t know that the kitchen behind the store was filled with antique kitchen items that she collected for years. She had many jar churns and my kitchen, which is filled with antiques, is definitely an example of the appreciation she gave me of them. From the ice cream scoops to the cash register, the tiny details of the store reflected her love of antiques. She was a great cook and made beach plum jelly each year. But the thing that I remember most about the Morrises was their love for each other. It was so apparent that they were a match made in heaven. Now I’m sure they are together again somewhere in the hereafter.”
– Linda Apuzzo

“We would stop in every summer on our way to Montauk. The little brown bags!”
– Sarah Jane Karaffa

“I remember biking the back roads from North Sea with my cousin — thought we were so cool with our candy cigarettes from the Penny Candy Shop.”
– Vicky Goodale

“We visited the Penny Candy shop annually on our way to Hither Hills each August from 1985 until it closed. With $1 each, all four children would carefully choose our candy. We spent the next week eating and swapping with our siblings and friends. It was a highlight of our summer. Mr. Morris was so patient with us. We still talk about it, 30 years later.”
– Holly Barry Endee

“The drive from our home in Bridgehampton seemed like an eternity. I was 6. Red hair and freckles from ear to ear. As we opened the heavy, creaky red door, the chimes would sound, and from behind the back curtain came June. Her sweet voice and gray bun. Sometimes she would lift the wooden counter and come around to the front and help me choose just the right kind. Dip Sticks and cookie sticks with chocolate were my favorite. I dreamed of one day having a shop like it.”
– Meaghan Guzman

“We lived next door to Harvey and June and their beloved boxers, all named Chadder. One year, Harvey dressed as Santa and delivered Cabbage Patch dolls to us. We couldn’t believe our good fortune. They were the best and most patient people.”
– Kim Luss Bowman

“As a city kid, I was lucky enough to stay with my parents and their friends one weekend every summer in Water Mill. My friend and I would collect old cans and bottles and get a nickel for each one we returned to the local gas station. We would then take our bikes to the Penny Candy Store and for the 75 cents or so we each collected, we bought and ate enough candy for us to return home with stomach aches.”
– Rob Wiesenthal

“Penny Candy Store was an everyday stop: 1970, 5th grade, on the way home from Hampton Day School. I have the cavities to prove it.”
– Peter Van Allen

“As a kid, we would trek from Maryland to Montauk every summer. First, we stopped in Westchester to pick up my grandmother. Then we might stop at Grace’s for hot dogs, but we always stopped at Penny Candy. We kids got $5 to spend as we saw fit — my older brother and I getting candy while, often, my little brother would choose to spend his money on a Hot Wheels or toy. While we contemplated buttons, Necco Wafers and waxed bottle candies, my mom and grandmother would be chatting with June over the counter. Eventually, she would take out a box of carefully wrapped chocolate-covered apricots, which were my mom and grandma’s favorite. As I got older and moved away from the penny candies, they shared this tradition with me and I felt so special. I will always have fond memories of spending time in the Penny Candy Shop.”
– Rebecca Mondoñedo

“My mom would promise me $1 worth of candy if I behaved in church. One dollar got you a lot in the ’80s. They were always so patient while I took forever to choose what I wanted.”
– Pete D’Angelo

“Walking from the Water Mill soccer fields started me down the path of a candy addiction I still battle to this day. I still look for the star to get a free tootsie roll pop.”
– Christian Moscicki

“After school in 1964, my mom would drive my brother, Mike, and me to our music lessons with Sister Fernanda at the Villa Maria. My accordion lesson was 30 minutes long, then Sister Fernanda would give me a dime to run across Montauk Highway — alone, and I was 7. I would return with my bag of loot while Mike had his drum lesson. Ten cents bought a nice sized bag of candy. And there wasn’t a car in sight. I can still hear the jingle of the bell on the door and the creaky wooden floor. It was a special place in a special time owned by some extraordinary, kind, and gentle people. Boy was I lucky.”
– Rosemary Lange

“Harvey and June bought the building from my parents, Eric and Lucille Corwith. They had the patience of saints. A couple of pairs of ice skates I wore came from there. They would have a basket of used ice skates for sale in the winter. If I didn’t buy candy, I collected ceramic miniature figurines. I still have them. If I was good while my mom went shopping at Ray Lingwood’s grocery store, I got to have strawberry ice cream in a sugar cone from Penny Candy. Then I ate it on the way home, riding in my red wagon amongst the grocery bags.”
– Melissa Coker

“June had a wonderful collection of small painted glass animals at her shop. Every Easter, my mom would get me a different mother/baby pair — ducks, cows, horses, I had dozens by the time I left for college. When I moved back to Southampton, I found the collection in my parents’ attic and showed it to my own children. Each piece was just as precious as I remembered. I was happy we could care for June in her final days. She and her little shop brought so much joy to so many people in our community.”
– Mary Crosby, president and CEO of East End Hospice

“I remember walking up for my grandparents’ house on Upper Seven Ponds every summer with my cousins. The adults would give us all a few bucks. We would go in, June and her husband would be there with their little notepad. She would slowly mark down the price of each candy that we got, but most of the time wouldn’t tell us how much we’ve spent, and then when we would ask, she would make us do the math. I learned more about budgeting and bang for your buck in the Penny Candy store in the summer then I did and all of my schooling. How many Swedish Fish can you get for a dollar? In the eyes of a 6-year-old, a lot! I loved to drive by after they closed just to see the old water mill — everything changes so fast on the East End, it was just a nice piece of nostalgia. Every time we would pass, the memories of years gone by would come flooding back. There is a special place on the other side of the eternity for June.”
– Michael Giacoia

“We used to rent the second house in when looking at the houses across from the convent. It was owned by the Talbots. We would have it for the summer, a big old ghostly mansion, at least it seemed that way to me and my stepsister, Emma. We spent most of our time either on a canoe in the water or walking to the Penny Candy store to get our candy buttons, you know that big strip of paper? We loved that. And pixie sticks. And wax lips. It was heaven for kids!”
– Bridget LeRoy

“And candy cigarettes, and those little wax bottles filled with rainbow colored sugar water... It really was heaven! Walking in to the store as a kid with a dollar or two in your pocket was to be rich!”
– Emma Walton Hamilton

“Iconic slice of Americana! We’d bribe our kids to behave on long drives in return for going there.”
– Tim O’Brien

“Once upon a time there was The Penny Candy Shop. We’d pile in the car; it was the happiest time. We’d spend a half hour or so pouring over the toys and trinkets — my brother spinning the comic book wheels, my sister and I finding treasures in every nook and cranny. The Barbies were on the top shelf behind the counter. Mrs. Morris never rushed you, patently taking stuffed animals from behind the glass cases and exchanging Mary Jane’s for Squirrel Nut Zippers as she put your 10-cent little paper bag together. Ten pieces of candy! Little wax bottles filled with syrupy sweetness, candy buttons on paper sheets, candy cigarettes, root beer barrels, Bit-o-Honeys. My mother loved the molasses paddles. Later, I worked for June and Harvey Morris, when I was 18, scooping Louis Sherry ice cream and ringing up candy and treats on the old register. You could pick up a babysitting job, too. Everyone came there to find one. They don’t make a lot of the candy anymore. And they don’t make ’em like June Morris.”
– Nancy Kane

“Every summer, we would take a car trip out east to the Hamptons and make a stop at the penny candy store. Good times, great memories!”
– Chris Reinhardt

“Penny Candy was such a great memory for me. I lived in Maryland and would visit my Aunt Patty Mann Jablow and Uncle Howie Jablow. It was always a big treat to go to Meghan’s for burgers and then to Penny Candy for our dessert. It was such an old school store with a family feel to it. Great memories.”
– Kerry Cremmins

“It was such a special treat to be able stop in and get a treat, usually after doctor appointments in Southampton. Mrs. Morris was always so kind! I hope the building is restored and kept the same to retain the quaintness of Water Mill.”
– Brooks Parker Day

“I can remember my great Dzadzi (grandfather) slipping us $1 to stop there on our way home from visiting my Babchi in Bridgehampton. Man, could you get a lot of candy for a dollar back then!”
– Michelle Zuhoski

“After my sister and I finally chose our candy — which took a while, June was always so patient — we would sit on the bench outside, open our brown baggies and watch the cars go by with our dad. Wonderful memories!”
– Rachel Peterson Copt

“We would take our kids for a Sunday drive in the ’70s and a stop there was mandatory!”
– Kathleen Smith

“My older sisters and I would ride our bikes from Seven Ponds with our chore money to penny candy. Get the goods and then ride to the post office past Meghan’s to get the mail for our parents. After that hang out by the watermill and load up our Pez dispensers and ride home before dinner time. Times were simple and my knees always had scabs on them.”
– Bobby Huneken

“My mom would give us a dollar on rainy days and we’d walk from Cooper Lane to this candy store. They were always so patient with us trying to decide what to get!”
– Sally Smith Mackey

“My whole life, starting in 1960, my family came to summer at my grandparents’ house on Sagaponack Road. One of the highlights of our trips was the stop at Penny Candy, coming and going! Each of us with a quarter in our hands, we would fill a little brown bag with our favorite candy!”
– Peter H. Cook

“I began taking my son there in 1970. He was 5. It was always a treat and he was so excited to be able to pick out a bag of candy. June was great with kids and with adults because she knew everything that was going on. We moved away but continued to go back to Sag Harbor because it felt like home. It was sad to see the store closed. It is a place of wonderful memories.”
– Catherine Fetka

“My dad owned a piano store down the street and we went there every Saturday when I was little. Great memories!”
– Max Scainetti

“It was one of my favorite summer spots as a kid in Orient.”
– Eva Lebowitz Pesantez

“I have a lot of fond memories starting from the late ’70s — all the wonderful goodies, even the candy cigarettes. Then I worked at Meghan’s in the late ’90s and used to go there and buy lottery scratch offs. June never changed a bit.”
– Stacy Leigh

“I remember those giant Swedish fish! They were huge and I’ve never seen them anywhere else.”
– Erin O’Callaghan

“I would love going there when I was little. I got to take my daughter there also. Unfortunately, my granddaughter will not know what it was like. You go in and get a bag and fill it up.”
– Susan Fick Pluchino

“Robert Remkus used to get us a box from the Penny Candy Store for different occasions. I remember the one when I broke my arm vividly! It was 1985.”
– Erica Jean

“As young children, we rode our bikes there and back. It was the most independent outing our parents allowed us to enjoy. The old floors. The door bells. Just a magical little place in Water Mill.”
– Michelle M Colina

“Grew up in East Hampton, went there for years on our way to see grandma in Brooklyn.”
– Doreen Gabrielsen

“Loved popping in there. Our kids got their Beanie Babies there in the early 2000s.”
– Donna Soszynski-Lauter

“Back in the late ’90s, I worked at Bridgehampton National Bank and would go there often. They were so pleasant and the store was like stepping back in time. It was nostalgic and I thought it was so cool how their home was attached to the shop.”
­– Alissa Rose

“I remember buying balsa airplanes there in the ’70s. Loved the creaky wood floors and exploring everything as a kid. Got my first iceboat ride on Mecox from Harvey around 1980.”
– Chris Gem

“I just remember the Patty Play Pal doll always in the window. My sister had the same doll.”
– Virginia Mae Frati

“Lived half a mile from Penny Candy. My neighbors and I would ride our bikes or walk there all the time through the back paths and stop for candy, or to just look around. I loved the dollhouse in the window — all the furniture and those little details. Rather than dolls inside, she had little dressed-up mice. We would stop in there to get birthday presents for family/friends. I specifically remember always getting my pop a candy box (and always hoping he’d give me a piece).”
– Jen Warner

“I have very fond memories of the Penny Candy store. We lived in Middle Island and every time we visited family and friends in Bridgehampton, we would stop there. There were six other kids in my family and it would take a little time to pick out what we wanted when there were so many of choices. We probably only had 10 or 15 cents each and my dad would try to move us along. It was a good thing we had a station wagon and could fit everyone. The proprietor was always so gracious and sweet, making sure we got just what we wanted. This was in the ’50s and early ’60s.”
– Nancy Nowaski-Roesler

“Mini Swedish fish for a penny each after the beach as a kid!”
– Owen J. McCormack

“Every day after school, I’d thieve some spare change from my mom’s purse or squirrel aside my lunch money to go buy some candy and sit and eat it alone under the water mill.”
– Juliana Alati

“My brothers and I used to choose $1 worth of penny candy out of their glass case as she handwrote the price of each one. We brought the candy home in their little brown paper bags. My mother would sometimes request a scoop of their coffee ice cream on a sugar cone with chocolate sprinkles. Flashbacks in Sag Harbor is the closest thing to that experience now.”
– Sarah Godfrey

“My mom used to take me there all the time when I was younger. She was my Beanie Baby dealer! She would always put aside a new one she got that she thought I would like or want, and wait for us to stop by after running errands. I loved that place.”
– Diana Clarke

“James Topping and I would ride his blue Power Wheels truck there from his grandparents’ house down the road. My candy of choice was usually the red chewy candy smoke pipe.”
– James Luttrell Cruickshank

“My father took me there all the time and bought me speckled jaw breakers that were too big to fit in my mouth.”
– Kit Demirdelen

“I have so many wonderful memories of Penny Candy! I used to ride my bike there after school with a dollar and I would come home with pockets full of candy. I remember Twizzlers and the dots on the long sheets. I also remember a big stuffed boxer in the store. Like most kids in Water Mill, I had my name on the babysitting list by the register and I was always babysitting because of it! Mrs. Morris was always so patient and kind. Great childhood memories that I’m grateful for. I often share the memories with my children. I wish there was a Penny Candy for them.”
– Janine Coletta

Some comments are edited for length and clarity.

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