Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hanging Out

The Drugstore 8.5" x 11" pencil

This is the drugstore on the corner by the red light in my hometown. One of our places to hang out, especially before or after an afternoon movie at the picture show. All ages went to the drugstore for treats, special purchases, and medicine.
The drugstore was a bit on the dark side, with dark woodwork, and a pressed tin ceiling, a mirror behind the soda fountain that looked like it came from an old western saloon. (It probably did, as there had been quite a few in town, in the olden days. And most grocery stores also had a bar in them, with one of those old fashioned mirrors and shelves for glasses, etc.) But, the big windows on the street and around the side let in enough light to make the place feel cozy and welcoming. Traffic watching was a big thing in town, too.
In this sketch, my good friend, Peggie, is working behind the soda fountain to prepare a special treat. A teenage boy is sipping his soda, served on the always cool marble counter. Peggie's sister, Sue, is behind the cosmetics and jewelry counter showing the latest perfume to a customer. Another customer is looking at beauty products on the lower shelf.
On the left side of the store, by the windows, at the wire with glass topped tables, people are sharing a Coke with two straws as we used to do. (Two or three people could enjoy a small Coke that way, for 5 cents, and it would last for hours!)
On the right side of the store was the magazine rack, which covered up part of the window. All the latest magazines were there, and kids spent a lot of time reading those magazines, especially if they didn't have a nickel to buy a Coke or an ice cream cone, but still needed something to do. Most of the time, the druggist didn't say anything. We would eventually buy something. I guess he knew we were staying out of trouble in his store, and our parents were customers. I couldn't wait for the latest movie magazines to come in, especially if they had Tim Holt or another one of my favorite stars in them. And, this is where I got my beloved comic books. I read and reread my comic books and had quite a collection. When I went away to college, my mother put all my dolls, comic books, scrap books with movie star pictures, and toys in a big toy chest, and moved them out to a shed, where they were all ruined. She thought I was too old for such things at age 16. I guess that part of the reality was that they needed the space for my sister to have a room that we had always shared, now that I was away at college.
In the center of the picture are a trio of youngsters, coming into the drugstore before or after the movie. They are dressed in jeans with the legs rolled up, and one is swinging a drawstring purse.
Passing by on the sidewalk there is an older couple, a tall Texan and his wife. They enjoyed this drugstore and others when they were youngsters, for the town was much larger with many more businesses, in times past. At this time in their lives, treats became rare in the drustore for them, but they were there often for medicine. They didn't hesitate to pay for the treats that the youngsters enjoyed, as they paid for their own purchases.
I was glad to see some of the others who used to hang out at the drugstore at the reunion last weekend.
Kathryn reminded our group of when the POWs from the German Prisoner of War Camp near the next town, went past the drugstore in trucks, on their way to and from the fields where they worked. There were all of these blonde men with blue eyes, some of them really cute, we thought. This was during WWII.
Sadly, the drugstore is now gone-torn down, and there is a vacant spot where we once spent so many happy hours, hoping to catch a beau, dream of a special gift or cosmetics (which our mothers wouldn't let us wear), read a magazine, spend some time with friends, or just enjoy some delicious ice cream, a banana split, a malt or soda, a sundae, a lime ice, or a Coke with a straw for two.

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