El orgullo de ser mocano: People of Moca, Puerto Rico — Ellen Fernandez-Sacco

El Candy Store de Milo
July 10, 2013, 7:05 pm
Filed under: Moca, Puerto Rico | Tags: , ,

Not far from the start of Calle Barbosa, off the main Plaza in Moca, are a series of two story buildings with small stores on the first floor.  The older wooden buildings that used to occupy these blocks have disappeared, in part to take advantage of concrete in the event of hurricanes or fire. The latter happened in 1911, just a year after the 1910 census was enumerated for Moca, when a fire swept through most of the block, destroying structures and displacing some residents to other addresses and locations.

Despite the use of concrete during the 20th century, many buildings retain details from older architecture, such as tall, narrow wooden doors and frames. A store at street level often has a set of two doors, to enable the passage of both air and prospective customers through the space. Above the doors in neon are the words “Milo’s Candy Store” that becomes illuminated script at night.

Milo in his tiendita, 2007

Milo in his tiendita, 2007.  photo by efs

Milo Gerena’s candy store is a riot of colors, with tiny handmade signs done in black, blue and red ink. He also sells little bags with prizes, candy and a small white card decorated in ink that announced what bounty awaited the winner when trading it in.  The counter is from the forties or fifties, a narrow affair that wrapped around the space where Milo works serving coffee, sandwiches or other easily prepared food to the customers seated on one of the six red vinyl stools. On the end nearer the door, are the displays of hard and soft candy, along with small boxes that displayed dulces del pais, local sweets wrapped in plastic made of coconut, peanut, sesame or walnuts cut into squares or flat round shapes.

Milo grew a long white beard as a promesa for his mother, Librada Gerena [QEPD]  a skilled tejedora who made mundillo together with his sister.