Jenna’s blog got me thinking about my roots in collecting vintage articles. I never had the experience of a Grandparent taking me out to scour the thrift stores, but mercantilism runs in my family. Over the years, my paternal Grandparents owned several Mom and Pop stores. My best memory was a store that they had near the river in town. Displayed across the squeaky hinged screened door was a diagonal metal banner for Camel Cigarettes that banged loudly when the door swung shut. They didn’t need a buzzer to announce a customer. The planked floors where made of an old wood, and when you stepped in, you were met with a big-red-chest-style freezer (the kind you have to reach into) branded with the classic words, “Drink Coca Cola.”
Grandpa and Grandma’s house was attached to the back of the store and as a kid, the best part of spending the night at their house was that as their guest you were allowed, after dinner, to go out to the store and pick one treat from the vast array yummies. Sometimes I chose soda pop, after which Grandma would peal the cork liner from the back of the cap, she would then press the top of the cap to the front of my shirt, push the cork lining back into the cap through my shirt, and presto I would be wearing a Bubble Up pin! Grandpa would open most of the pop bottles for his customers so he would end up with a stash of bottle caps and we could get quite a selection of “pop” pins on our shirt before it was time to go home. Usually, however, I went for an ice cream or Popsicle when it was my turn to pick a treat from the store. Looking back, I think about how that store was filled with today’s collectables… the old soda pop freezer, the Camel sign, the neon Ham’s Beer sign with a smiling black bear, and even that banging screen door.