“A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.”

I have amazed myself. This morning Gracie and I were out and about by 9:45. Perhaps that doesn’t sound early, but it was shortly after I woke up and it was accomplished without coffee, a feat in itself. The first stop on our list was for blood letting, the reason for no coffee. Next stop was the dump though it would be better described as the tundra where a freezing wind blew across the open areas. My trunk was filled, but I was quick to toss the bags into the receptacle then jump back into the warm car. CVS was next for Gracie’s pills. The last stop before home was Dunkin’ Donuts.

Most of my favorite places in my old home town are changed almost beyond recognition or are totally gone. I lived there for eleven years. I remember the sights, smells and sounds of that town. While walking in the square, I could hear the pins falling in the bowling alleys below the movie theater. The alleys as well as some pool tables were at the bottom of a set of stairs. I used to peek through the glass on the door, but I could only see the stairs and a bit of the wooden floor where the stairs ended. Never once did I venture down. I didn’t know anyone who did. I only remember the sound.

Uptown sometimes smelled like popcorn. Down a narrow street off the square was a small place where candy and popcorn were made. It had a counter at the front of the store where you could buy the candy and popcorn, always cheaper than at Star Market. They were packaged in plastic bags with only the name of the contents on the front. I didn’t know the name of the small plant which made them. I only remember the smell, the aroma.

Two drugstores were in the square. One was small with only four stools at the soda fountain while the other had a long marble counter and several stools. I could get a free coke from the small one if I was with my father. I had to pay at the other drug store, but it was only a dime. I always ordered a vanilla coke. The soda jerk started by putting the vanilla syrup in the glass, then added coke syrup and finally the fizzy water as we used to call it because we didn’t know what it was. The drink was never served with ice. I used a straw from the metal container to sip my drink. I don’t think I have ever tasted a better coke.

I remember every store. I could give you a tour of what was. I remember the green police box which stood in the middle of the road where three streets met until someone hit it and the box could not be saved. During the day shoppers walked up and down Main Street. Some shoppers carried paper bags while others wheeled wire baskets behind them. At night the movie theater marquee was lit. The stores were closed for the night. There were some street lights which were decorated every Christmas. Even now after all these years I can close my eyes and see it all.

Explore posts in the same categories: Musings

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

12 Comments on ““A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.””

  1. Richard Says:

    Whoa! I was ‘out ’n about’ by 0945 my own self! How ’bout dat? My activity was necessitated by a screw-up I made about 10 days ago when I got on hands ’n knees to clean the kitchen floor. Shoulda known better, but heyyyyy … my middle name could easily be ‘Stupidity.’ Anyhow, the visit to the Physical Therapist was positive, and he didn’t see any signs of deterioration in my condition toward what it was at our first encounter, so it’s just a matter of waitin’ for the exercises to take full effect. They’ve done so once before, and I undid all that with just one ‘on-the-floor’ session in the kitchen. That will NEVER happen again.

    What’s all this ‘bloodletting,’ then? I thot that went out sometime in the 15th or 16th Century – but Dunkin’ is always a Right Place to stop.

    ‘Changed almost beyond recognition’ … yeah, that’s about the way I feel about my hometown of New Orleans. Sixty-one years I lived there ’til Katrina’s visit, and now I’ve decided I’ll never return for a visit. I don’t want the memories I have of the city pre-K replaced with the ugly reality of what’s there now. I still hear from a first cousin and a college roommate who are still there, and it’s not pretty. If possible, it’s getting worse. I’ll just wave it a fond farewell and remember what it used to be rather than be happy for what it has become.

    The popcorn you mention was something we had at the Hills Bros. store. It wasn’t far from the coffee-grinding area where y’ ground your own blend. Drugstores were different. The one where I went every Sunday after Mass to get a brand-spankin’ new comic book was diff’rent from the one Mom took us to after a shopping spree on Dryades Street (now ‘Oretha Castle Hailey Blvd.’) that was named Waldorf’s. It was at Waldorf’s that we were introduced to the mysteries of the Phosphate Soda – and real malted milk shakes. With ice. Later, at lunch counters, we’d learn about ‘Cherry Coke,’ but that was still in the distance.

    Funny how some things never change over time when they’re recalled … the good gets better and the bad usually gets forgotten – or at least ‘less bad’ if we’re lucky.

    • katry Says:

      Richard,
      My back is like the coast line here. It is deteriorating. Exercises help as it takes a bit longer before the pain.

      I have always called having blood drawn blood letting. It happens often for me because of needing to know medication levels for my cardiac stuff.

      My sister still lives in my old town so I do get up there but not often. The street where I lived for so long hasn’t changed a whole lot but all around it has. The tracks are gone. I loved walking the tracks, always considered them shortcut. Up town too has changed though some of the original buildings have been repurposed. The movie theater looks the same outside but is now a live theater showing plays. It is a non-profit, and they came in to rebuild and preserve. I go at east once a year. I am tempted to bring some JuJu Beads to toss.

      I was never a cherry coke fan. My town had a Woolworth’s and a Grant’s but not many other stores you’d recognize by name.

      Many of my childhood friends still live there. We have only good memories.

  2. Bob Says:

    Unfortunately, nothing stays the same. Try to find a soda fountain anywhere today. When I was a kid in NYC every corner had a candy store. A NY candy store was more than a place to buy candy. It was a news stand, soda fountain and luncheonette. Lunch at a candy store might include a grilled cheese sandwich and a chocolate egg cream. An egg cream had no eggs but was a chocolate soda with a small amount of milk added to the syrup before adding the seltzer. A genuine egg cream had to be made with Fox’s U’bet chocolate syrup, Hershey’s just won’t work. If I went back to NY and found a candy store who could make an egg cream, I’m sure it wouldn’t be as good as in nostalgia.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I told someone my old neighborhood was pretty much the same as when I lived there. The trees are huge now, but the houses look exactly as I remember.

      Yarmouthport actually has a really old drug store which has a soda fountain. The store is open only in the summer.

      I have never tasted an egg cream. We don’t have them here. I did get a laugh from your description, the no eggs part. Here in New England if you order a milk shake you get milk and flavoring whipped together until they’re frothy. You don’t get any ice cream. If you want ice cream, order a frappe (pronounced “frap”).

      We didn’t have candy stores but we did have luncheonettes where you could buy magazines and newspapers. Some also had a soda fountain.

      Many places here on the cape have stayed the same. I think that’s why I’ve stayed here.

      • Bob Says:

        When I was a kid my mother, who is from NY, called a malted milkshake a frappe. Interesting how the meanings of words change by geography. There’s only 250 miles between the two cities to lose or gain ice cream.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        I didn’t realize that frappe is also in New York. Here’s one for you: in Rhode Island a cabinet is a milkshake.

    • Richard Says:

      Well, looky here … Bob, this is your lucky day. Here’s a link where you can order your very own supply of Fox’s U’bet (how come it wasn’t ‘U’betcha’?) … enjoy …

  3. Richard Says:

    Oh – wait … you still need the link, right … ?

    http://www.foxsyrups.com/

  4. olof1 Says:

    Nothing much look the same where I grew up either. Stores are gone or changed to other kind of stores. First everything moved closer to the city and then came all the super markets and malls sothecity centers sort of died. The only things left as they were are the cinemas. One or two are gone but most of them are still there.

    Our drugstores never sold any soda but some sold toys and I’ll never forget the smell from the poerfumes they sold.

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      My drug stores also sold perfume. I remember the table in the middle of the stores filled with different shaped bottles and different scents.

      The cape has changed more than any other place. It used to be quiet and desolate all winter with most motels and restaurants closing. Now it is suburbia. I do miss all that winter quiet!

      Have wonderful Friday!


Comments are closed.


%d bloggers like this: