When the sun comes up over Wilkens Avenue, a line has already formed at Rheb's, the legendary West Baltimore candymaker. For decades, Baltimoreans have been making the pilgrimage to the small shop—behind a corner rowhome, across from Saint Agnes Hospital—for holiday candy. Tuesday, the line starts forming a little before 7 am.
"This is the second time this month that I’ve been out here," says Mary Donohue. "I’ve been coming for at least 25 years."
Standing nearby, Sheila Mayer gives a knowing nod. "My mother was a nurse at St. Agnes," says Mayer, "and she always got all of our Christmas candy here. All of our candy came from Rheb’s."
"I've been coming here a little over 40 years," says Lee Homens. "And I don't even eat candy. Is that loyalty or insanity? I gift it, because I know it's the best."
"I always come for dark chocolate, vanilla butter creams, and caramels," notes Donohue. After a pause, she adds: "And also chocolate covered walnuts and cashews. Once, I didn't get in line and...