Sunday, March 25, 2007

The General Store

You live in a fairly isolated village, you have a general store. They didn’t stop existing just because towns got bigger, roads became better and we all became modern. We lived on what Mother Nature originally created as an island, a half-mile offshore. That a river’s silt, and our need to fill in the resulting swamp, turned it into a tenuous peninsula meant little: we are still offshore in emotion and, occasionally, in fact.

The general store started as a few small operations. Hymie’s hardware store, smaller and more crowded than outsiders could imagine, but with anything you would ever need. Freddie’s snack shop, general merchandise and, most importantly, gambling front. The market, the barber shop and its wind-up pole outside. The tiny deli where very underage (14 y/o) kids sold beer to anyone, including a local state cop who didn’t care. And the drugstore, with its 4th class post office, soda fountain, real phone booth, magazine rack (reading ok for regular kid customers) which the owner bought, and eventually sold, on the basis of a handshake.

Eventually, it all wound up in the (drug)store, after the pharmacy closed and there was but one store left in the village. Except for the hardware and gambling, you could still get most everything you needed right there. And, knowing the new owner, we’re not all that sure the gambling went away.

I think there is nothing quite like growing up in a place that people think exists only in old magazines. Some visitors asked where the mall was; I said, “There’s the general store; that’s it. Nearest mall is on the mainland, about four miles away.”


Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

Know what happened to General Stores? The malls moved in, ruined in town business. Wal-Mart moved in, messd up the malls T.S.! Call that payback.

Was in a great General Store in Weston, Vt.......neat place. Could spend a half day there....did too.

March 28, 2007 6:11 PM  

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