Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Store

Well, I am no longer dying of heat stroke! We are back to our early spring, rainy,60 degree, high frizz alert weather. We actually had one absolutely perfect day on Friday, and Sat wasn't bad either, so I can't complain too much. In fact a nice fat package arrived yesterday that cheered me right up, and brought the memories flowing back. My mumsy's dad and his brother have owned and ran a hardware/book/housewares/gift/everything shop in their little Utah town since my grandpa was old enough to take it over. It has been in the family though for at least 90 years, maybe longer. My grandpa is now 83 and though he is more active and in better health than me, it is time for him to retire.
So "The Store" is closing! I spent a huge amount of time there as a youngin' and spent three summers (ages 12, 13, and 14) living with my grandparents and working at the store for 1$ p/h. I made 350-400$ a summer and was taught the valuable lesson of how to work. It has been the driving pulse of my mothers family for several generations. The truth though, is that about 10 years ago a Walmart was put in in the next town over, and business has never been the same. It makes me sad, but that is a rant for another day. I really want to show you the store before I show you the goodies I got yesterday, and before it is gone for good.

It was originally owned by my great grandma's family. She married a nice young man, George Taylor, in the early 1900's and became pregnant. About that time he was called to go away for two years on a mission for his church. While on the mission he fell very ill. She was able to come be with him in his last hours before he passed away.
He had a mission companion at that time, Elmer Bert Simmons, who had promised to make sure his wife and baby were ok if he died. The above is the two of them on their mission. While carrying out his word to George, Elmer and my great grandma fell in love. They soon married (about 1915) and had eight more children over the years. Elmer was given a job in the store. This is him in the store, but I am not sure of the year. It was one of those general everything stores that every tiny town needed before the Walmarts and Targets took over. They had everything from paint and fishing tackle to dish ware, fine crystal, furniture and toys. My grandpa, though he worked there while growing up, went to college and got a degree in accounting. But just as he was about to take a job and move his own little family, his parents asked him to please stay and run the store. My grandpa is one of the smartest, neatest people you could ever meet, and his family is ALWAYS #1. So he stayed and except for a yearly vacation, has worked every day but Sunday from 9am to 6pm every day since.


For all these years if there was overstock or something was damaged it would go upstairs into a big storage room, or out into the warehouse. As years passed, several things were forgotten about, and more would be added. Last week, my mom and sister drove up to help my grandpa go through everything. Most of it they threw away, as it was old display cases, packing supplies, empty boxes, defective electronics, etc. But about 10 % was these treasures that had been forgotten about and so preserved for several decades. My mom found things that had been put up there, with notes on them by her, at least 30 years ago. Knowing my adoration for things old and vintage, my mom kept a little corner as they were cleaning, with a few treasures for me. That is the box I received yesterday. Lets have a looksie.

Four kinds of vintage cards, two packages of which haven't been opened.

This donkey one is hilarious. I need to photo the whole thing.

A few of these pretty lady cards, though these are a bit dirty. Perfect for crafts.

Several Caravelle by Bulova men's watches. They are all from the 60's and 70's and are wind up.

About 20 Caravelle by Bulova ladies watches (there are several loose ones not shown). They are all lovely. Nothing too fancy (though some are 14 carat gold) but still very pretty. About half of all the watches still work. I bet the others need a little tune up. None have ever been worn.

These vintage holiday licky stickers. The pumpkin ones are opened, but the others still closed. Some of the glue has come off a few but I just love them in their old packages.

There were also some 1970's plastic grapes that my husband whisked away to hang on our "lovely" macramé wine holder that hangs in the kitchen. I haven't snapped a photo yet but I am sure if I don't, he will soon. They found a few more things for me after they sent this package which will be fun.

The store closing leaves me with mixed feelings. On one hand, it probably should have happened ten years ago. My poor grandpa needs to start spending that retirement of his and have a few lazy days (as if that will happen, wait til I show you his award winning garden). But there are so many memories attached to the place. The memories will always be there though and sometimes change is good. I kind of wish I could see it one more time, walk the sometimes warped isles, smell the key dust mingled with rosy smelling saches. When I close my eyes though I can.

Do you have places like this in your life? What are your memories of the places and times that helped shape who you are? And does anyone need a watch? :)

17 comments:

Chocolate Cat said...

An end of an era always tugs on our heartstrings whether it is for the best or not. How lovely for you to receive the parcel of special treasures. You will always have some wonderful memories and fun using these goodies.

Kenningtons said...

Sad about the shop closing. Great treasures!!!

Joanna said...

Oh what wonderful treasures you got! Just priceless. So sad about the store. Makes me not want to go to Walmart :(

jed said...

I actually remember reading books in this store. It must be from a time or two I was visiting you down there...I'm not sure. Sad to see it closed down.

Jed

Tessa said...

You need a picture of the room! I seriously had no words to express at the sight! Great post Stacy... and I have to admitt I have selfishly kept most of the cards but we will send some more as I feel more willing to part with them! I love you and I will talk to you in two weeks!

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

What city is this in? It looks like a darling store and your grandparents couldn't be cuter. I loved you telling his story and the story of the store. Now the box of "finds" from the attic! Wowie. I love the cards. They couldn't be cuter. All great stuff. Its sas these mom and pop stores are a thing of the past. Really really sad to me. Its like giving up on a big part of history. When I grew up in PA we had a little mom and pop candy store down the street about 7 houses. I grew up in a beautiful row home and the store was in the bottom part and the old couple lived above. It was called "Shoemacher's" and we called it "Shoeys". They had great penny candy and would let you go behind the counter and pick out what you wanted. It was just the most lovely store. I always hated when the put their back to school stuff in the front window though. It meant my wonderful summer was coming to a close. The store closed when I was about 14. Someone else tried to take it over but that only lasted about a year. It was so sad to see it go. That neighborhood is pretty awful now but in the 60's and early 70's it was a nice place to live. Sigh. Thanks for the memory.

Libby said...

I loved the local department store in my home town. You could buy just about anything there from farming equipment, feed and barn supplies, kitchenware, clothing (everyday and fancy), jewelry, shoes, linens, fabrics and notions - something for the whole family. The smell of the oiled wood floors, the vacuum tubes that carried sales slips and cash up to the bookkeepers - it was a relic from the past, for sure *sigh* I sure miss it - looking longingly into the glass display cases or standing on the sidewalk watching the magic of the Christmas decorations glimmering in the big windows.

woodenyouknow said...

What a great story! It's sad what the big stores are doing to our small towns. But I'm glad you have some memories and treasures!

Barbara at Oodles and Oodles said...

Oh, Stacy, what a place! So packed with memories. Your grandpa is a real treasure. (and those stickers are so great I might faint.)

BigCat said...

That is an amazing story and it looks like such an incredible place. I wish I could visit. It must feel strange to have it closing. I love those goodies that you received. The watches look beautiful.

Vickie said...

What a wonderful story! I love stories like that! The old pictures are great! I am so glad you have all those wonderful memories! Anything vintage is for me! The cards and stickers are great! The watches are marvelous!

Hens teeth said...

Stacey ~ This is so sad ~ but here in the UK so common too. My local town is virtually boarded up, all we have are banks and opticians! All because of the huge superstores. Thanks for your post though ~ it is so interesting to read from across the pond x

Tipper said...

What a neat history! I can just picture the store. And what handsome men the two were. I bet our hubby's would like to wear a hat like that! You got some real treasures-I know you'll enjoy them-especially knowing where they come from.

janet said...

Hi Stacy
I love reading your posts - and this one is excellent! Your Grandparents shop is just how I imagined America to be in the 60s. You must have such lovely memories! We have a little shop here in the uk and my husband is always putting things away for later when he overstocks so that bit made me smile. I also love all things vintage particularly from the 60s and 70s - fabrics especially! perhaps we could do a swap sometime!?

Lily Boot said...

This is one of the most heart-warming stories I have read this year! I so appreciate your feelings about the store closing and the incredible ties you and your family must have with this small town. Anytime you want to have that rant about Walmart, I'm here listening and nodding! My grandmother used to have a curtain making and haberdashery shop in a small country town in the 1970s, and my grandfather was a postmaster in country towns up and down the east coast of Australia. Many of my holidays were spent playing amongst the fabric of the store, or behind the huge old wooden counters of the post offices. Such places just don't exist any more. Just the other night, I was at a friend's home and a fellow guest was lecturing us on the economic neatness and perfection of closing down the original, beautifully built post offices, renting them to upmarket pubs and accounting firms, and putting the post offices in shopping malls, filled with cheap stationery and staffed by junior shop assistants. There was only so much I could listen to before I hopped on my soapbox! :-) I do hope your grandad enjoys many healthy and love-filled years of retirement - he looks like he deserves it - and in the words of Dr. Seuss (via Meg at Sew Liberated), "Don't cry because it's over ... smile because it happened" But I know I'd have a good cry first ...

Paula said...

I can just imagine the smell of that old store. Sad that it is closing and happy that your Grandpa is finally retiring.

I grew up in a similar environment. My grandparents owned the local hardware store and lumber yard. I spent many days bumping around that old store and Grandma always put us to work during inventory time counting all those bins of nails. My Grandpa passed away at an early age (64) so the store has been closed for many years but Simmons Supply will always be part of who I am.
Thanks for bringing those memories home...

LoriT said...

I'm headed to UT with my girls tomorrow. Where is the store, and when does it close for good? Wouldn't it be FUN if I were able to go and meet your grandparents?!?

Those treasures are FANTASTIC. I'm sure there was a feeling of reverence as your mom opened the "time capsule" of treasures.