My Saturday travels took me through the tiny town of my childhood.
As I passed by the building that was once my grandmother’s home and country store, I was saddened to see that the front door was open; the chain that held it closed no longer there. The house has been vacant since my grandmother’s death in 1969, and has just been allowed to deteriorate.
Grandma lived in the back area of the building, but so many of my childhood memories took place through that front door into the store:
Just inside the front door, hanging on a nail, was an old dark brown hat, crocheted by my grandma. At one time, she sold (and pumped) gas at the store, and in cold weather, she’d plop that hat on her head as she started out the door. Had I been older than sixteen when she died, perhaps I would have asked if I could have that hat.
On the right side, a long counter ran the length of the room. The cash register was at one end, and the candy counter at the other. I remember holding my (7-years-younger-than-me) nephew up so that he could see inside the case. He could never make up his mind what candy bar he wanted, but seemed to always choose a Hershey Bar. Had I been older, perhaps I wouldn’t have been so impatient.
Behind that counter, shelves held canned goods and other staples.
Along the back of the room, there was another counter where Grandma sold hoop/June cheese and bologna by the pound, wrapped them in butcher paper and tied them with twine. Had I been older than eleven when she closed the store, perhaps I would have asked if I could have those paper and twine holders.
On the left side of the room, there was a wooden table and two high-back benches (settles), made by my Dad before I was born. Ten of Grandma’s twelve children lived nearby, so there was rarely a time that she didn’t have someone visiting. Oh, the stories and love that was shared around that table. Had I been older than sixteen when Grandma died, perhaps I would have asked if I could have the table and benches. But, more importantly, jotted down notes about the stories they told.
In the center of the room was a stove, most likely an oil burner. One of Grandma’s regular customers was a man who drove a truck that hauled pulp wood. He had, at the most, two teeth and could drink an entire bottle of Coke without taking it down from his mouth. As a little girl, for some odd reason (probably his Coke-drinking ability), he was my hero. Mom informed me that I didn’t need to try to drink an entire bottle of Coke at one time.
My cousin, Lona, (the infant in the above photo) and I decided one day that we would clean up Grandma’s store. Grandma and our parents were in the back in her living area, and we didn’t mention our plan to them. Let’s just say that Grandma was less than pleased with our efforts. It seems that our idea of cleaning up was just to rearrange everything in the store. I recall Grandma scolding us that she couldn’t find anything. Had we been older, we would have known to ask permission first.
Sad that, at the time, I didn’t realize all the memories being made through that door.
~These Days Of Mine~