More Voices From The Past


I am sharing another story written by my Aunt, Iva Bailey. In this one she gives a window of what it was like when the little neighborhood store provided most of a family’s grocery needs. I also have fond memories of this store. A visit to my Great-Grandma Phillip’s house always included a trip to the little corner store for penny candy or an ice cream treat.

Mr. Bryan’s Store

I remember Mr. Bryan’s store. A store that was quite different from our supermarkets today. Different than our small neighborhood groceries also.

The store was on “our corner,” the corner of 16th st. and East Pioneer. Mr. Bryan had this store long before I was ever born so he was a pretty old man. Or at least he seemed so at the time. Now I would say he was middle-aged.

As I remember most everything came in bulk. Shortening and lard was in large wooden tubs. Peanut butter was in large pails. Almost everyone baked their own bread then so the only way flour came was in big, 100 pound sacks. The flour sacks were used after they were empty for dish towels and even clothes. I remember having under-slips and bloomers made from flour sacks. Sugar also came in 100 pound sacks but you could buy it by it by the pound in bulk. I remember Mr. Bryan scooping it out and weighing it on his scales. I remember the large round cakes of cheese, portions were cut off as large as the customer  wanted.

Bananas came on the stock. I still can see the big stock hanging in front of the window just inside. There would be another stock of green bananas in the store-room still packed in the hay it came in. Mr. Bryan would let some of the kids go into the store room and pick the sun flowers seeds out of the chick feed, that was always fun. The seeds were good to eat even if they were mixed in with the corn and other seeds. The feed was in big bins and we would have to practically stand on our head to get into the bins.

Mr. Bryan’s store was just like the pictures of olden day stores you see today. It had the big pot-bellied stove where all the men in the neighborhood that wasn’t working congregated and spent most of the day. There was always plenty of people in the store.

I remember the time our house caught fire. We had no phone so my dad told me to run to Mr. Bryan to call the fire department. I know no one ever ran faster. When I announced our house was on fire, all the men rushed out and was soon helping my dad put the fire out. Dad had the fire out long before the fire department got there. There was a big hole burnt in our roof. We were lucky it wasn’t more serious as it was a very windy day.

Mr. and Mrs. Bryan lived down the street from us in a great big house. I remember Mrs. Bryan’s attic. She had trunks of old clothes and she would let the neighborhood kids play there on rainy days. It was lots of fun trying on all those fancy dresses and hats she had.

The kids in the neighborhood were all disappointed when Mr. Bryan sold his store. It was never the same after that.

The store is still there and through the years has had many different owners but not of them were as unique as Mr. Bryan.



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