Friday, February 16, 2018

Going To The Ten Cent Store

My grandma lived with us till she passed away. We all called her little ma cause she was skinny as a rail but could handle her own. She was a firecracker when it came to certain things but she was a humble, God fearing woman. She surely believed in the power of prayer and shouting the house down every time she entered the church. She and daddy had it by themselves till he married mama since his brother had already married and left home.

After mama moved in little ma turned all the cooking over to mama and she liked her three meals a day. But she always tried to put a little money each month in the pot to keep food on the table and her little boxes of snuff. She never did draw much of a pension but each month when she got her little dab of money she always made sure to keep a little to go to the ten cent store. That's what people called the 5 & 10 store back then. It was actually called Lay's 5 & 10 store.

She knew mama needed to make a trip to town for a few monthly necessities and she would grab that head rag (head scarf) and tie it on her head for fear she'd take her death of cold. She'd also grab that little purse that she carried on her arm and away we'd go.

When we'd get there mama would tell us to stay close to her for fear if we followed little ma we'd get lost in the store. She knew that little ma would stop and talk to everyone there and never pay any mind to her surroundings. I'll never forget those old wooden floors and how they squeaked when we all walked through there. Squeak, squeak all the way to the back of the store and the smell of that fresh pop corn hit us smack -ka -dab in the face when we entered the store and our mouths started watering. We prayed really hard for some popcorn or candy before we left there.

They had so many tables filled with do dads and what knots plus plenty of shirts and clothes of all types among other things all stacked so neat on those big tables. And those ladies were always so busy making sure those clothes and other items were laying so neat. Mama always told us we better not break anything or we'd be in a whole heap of trouble. For the life of me, I've never seen so many breakables in my life. Of course, little ma always came away with a few more breakables like flower vases, dishes, etc. every time and the best part was she didn't pay over 10 cents or 50 cents for either one. I reckon she just loved flower vases and anything breakable.

After we'd spend an hour or what felt like two in that store she'd put her head scarf back on her head and ask mama if she was ever gonna get done. Mama had been done ten minutes after we'd entered the store. She was waiting on little ma to get tired of running her mouth and get her breakables. When mama got to the checkout she'd pay for her stuff she'd tell them she wanted a couple bags of that popcorn and boy did our eyes light up. It was just what we'd waited on and the smell had already about killed us by then. Little ma would check out her stuff and it took the store clerk forever cause she'd wrap every little breakable with an old newspaper before she bagged them up.

I tell you the truth when I say we loved going to the 10 cent store. But for the life of me we didn't know why little ma bought so many flower vases. We knew she always loved her roses and flowers and that was most likely the reason. We've still got some of them today in our families that she left behind. Daddy and mama just couldn't bring themselves to pack them away after we lost her that cold, snowy, winter day.
And just like little ma the 10 cent store is now gone as well but my memories are still fresh as the morning dew especially since the 20th of this month is the 58th anniversary of her death. And even though it's been that many years it seems like yesterday when she'd tie her head back up with that head rag and say, “I'll be rotten take if ye all don't beat all. I've been ready to go since I entered the store and here ye all are lolly gagging around just like always.”
She sure was a corker but oh how I miss those words today and going to the 10 cent store.

© Susie Swanson, 2018

In Memory of my grandma

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Old Rolling Store

Years ago people didn't get to go town much for the things they needed like staples, chicken and hog feed etc. That's why the old Rolling Store came in so handy. It ran all over the county mostly in rural areas. It came through once a week in our area on Tuesdays and we looked forward to walking out the little dirt road that led to the main road where it made its stop. Me or my older brother went with mama the most to help her carry back her merchandise or feed. Sometimes we both went when she needed a sack of flour, hog and chicken feed.
As young'uns it tickled us to death to walk upon that big, old store truck (as we called it) and look up at those big, high shelves filled with just about anything we needed.

One good thing about the Rolling Store is they'd buy eggs from mama and other people as well. When mama's hens were laying good she'd gather up a couple dozen of eggs and sell them to have a little extra money. Sometimes she'd take that money and buy us some candy. I remember they had three pieces of gum for a penny and something called B B bats. Those little things were made out of caramel and hard as a rock but they sure were delicious. Since we didn't have much sweets back then and when we did get something like a sucker we'd make it last long as there was a lick left.

Then there was the rock candy and orange slices along chocolate drops and so many other kinds and it made our eyes pop out on a stem. They also had those big cookies sitting in a cookie jar and looked so tasty. In other words, plenty of sweets to make a young'un wild as a buck, as mama used to say. That's what they called it back then when young'uns climbed the walls from eating so much sweets.

After Mama got all of her necessities up and if she had any change left she'd always go towards that candy. We'd watch her really close cause we looked forward to it but the times she didn't have any change left for candy we knew not to complain cause she always told us not to be disappointed. Now days young'uns would probably cry their eyes out if they didn't get what they wanted but mama always said, “ ye wants won't hurt ye.” Sometimes it took every penny she had including the egg money to get what she needed.

Every two weeks mama bought the hog feed and they sold it in fifty pound bags. It was called Shorts. She'd get two fifty pound bags at a time. When it came time for the hog feed my oldest brother next to me (I'm the oldest) would push the little wooden wheelbarrow along . That was his job and he could only push one fifty pound bag at a time back home. He'd unload it and go back and get the other one. My grandpa built the little wheelbarrow and it was all wooden except for the steal wheel he'd put on it and it had a flat bed. My brother always knew he couldn't cross the foot log that we had to walk across to get to the other side of the creek . He'd push that wheelbarrow through the middle of that creek. The creek was shallow where he had to cross and it only came up to his ankles. He did the same thing with the chicken feed and sometimes the twenty five pound bags of flour that mama bought. She tried to space it all out so she could afford it all. She'd get the hog feed every two weeks and then the chicken feed the next time. The basics like flour, meal, sugar, lard, coffee, etc.

Those hogs surely did get fed good too. They not only eat the hog feed but they were fed corn and of course plenty of slop from the slop buckets. It's no wonders they were so fat come hog killin day. And those chickens sure did like that scratch feed and crushed corn also. Those young fryers tasted so good come Sunday Dinner.
And the preacher thought so as well.

We all eat good and no one went hungry a day in our lives. We grew our own gardens and mama canned everything she could get her hands on but like she always said, “ye gotta have a little bread and some grease to put in it along with a dab of snuff and a good cup of coffee to wake ye up and clear ye head in the mornings.”

I'm happy to say that old Rolling Store helped to provide all the necessities families needed and then some. And my mouth still waters when I think of that penny candy and how good it tasted.. As my daddy used to say when he was eating milk and bread, “it'll make ye tongue slap ye brains out.” I'm so glad I got to live through such good times and thankful for my childhood and the old Rolling Store.

                                        © Susie Swanson, 2018

                                         Photo courtesy of my good friend Joyce.


Thursday, February 1, 2018


There’s something about the month of February
It warms my heart despite the ground hog day
He tries to ruin it thinking he’s a know it all
 He can’t predict the weather, there’s no way

Two presidents would roll over in their graves
It’s a very good thing they don’t have a clue
They’d pull out all the muzzle loaders and cannons
Knowing that groundhog was overshadowing them too

 If he thinks he’s going to take over Valentine’s Day
He’s got another thing coming that’s for sure
That’s the one day of the year set aside for love
And cupid’s arrow will not pierce him, I assure

I don’t even know why they want to give him a holiday
He thinks cause he saw his shadow it’ll be six weeks more
Spring will be here soon enough, we don’t need him around
He’s waiting for garden time so he can slip in the back door

I got news for that groundhog and he better listen close
February may be short and sweet but it can stand its ground
There’s no little bushy tail critter going to take it over
Get back in that hole before it becomes your burial mound

© Susie Swanson, 2018