The Village Shop.
January 17, 2018 2:06pm CST
When I was a teenager I went to work on a stud farm in a fairly remote location in the West of England. In this village was a small general shop which seemed to exist in a time warp. It was old-fashioned even then, and I'm talking about over 60 years ago. Above the door was a battered sign which said 'Edward Mapledoram - Grocer and Confectioner, Est. 1901'. He had been the father of the present inhabitants, the Misses Mapledoram, Agnes and Elizabeth. I never knew which was which, but it didn't really matter as I never heard them addressed as other than 'Miss Mapledoram'. They knew all of their customers' names, but they always addressed me as 'young lady', as I was a stranger to the village (not having been born there). These two sisters were very alike, both small and wizened and very ancient. The shop itself was a bit of an Aladdin's Cave, and when anyone entered the dim interior a bell rang to alert the sisters. Customers would often have to wait quite a while before one of the old ladies emerged from the murky depths of their back room. The first thing that struck the eyes on entering the shop were the rows and rows of sweet jars, each containing something like bullseyes, barley sugar, aniseed balls, dolly mixture, peardrops or liquorice sticks. Some of these jars had obviously been undisturbed for many years as their lids were covered with dust. There was always an opened sack of potatoes on the floor, and boxes of various fruit and vegetables scattered about. When you wanted to buy some of them, one of the sisters would weigh out the exact quantity you wanted. I was only in that area for a year, so I don't know what happened to them. I like to think that they curled up like sleepy dormice and just faded away. Do you remember shops like these? The photo is from Wikimedia, but it looks similar to the one I knew.
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@jabouk Goodness, there was a shop like that when I was growing up. It sold everything, and the lady who owned it was very old. Then I left Belfast at 6 years old and by the time I was back in these parts at age 35 ish there she was in my place of work and I had responsibility for her (you’ll remember what my job is) and I was at her 100th birthday on Christmas Day about 20 years ago. At 100 she still lived alone, played the piano and refused to install central heating even though she was a millionaire. She showed me a photo once of herself in the church choir when she was 70 and I noticed that she was still wearing the same dress 30 years later. She just wouldn’t spend money!! Goodness, that was a lengthy response.
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• El Paso, Texas
I sometimes wonder what those who lived in the 1700s would think @jaboUK didn't they usually stay in the same homes as their parents or at least one of the kids would? These days a house is no longer a real home, too often kids move away and have no desire to keep the homes their parents raised them in.
• Bunbury, Australia
In my hometown there was a store that sold everything bar food. The elderly man was especially into fixing and supplying bicycles and parts but there were toys and kitchen paraphenalia everywhere. Anything you wanted that might be a bit unusual he seemed to have. I remember stores where everything was measured out and put into paper bags. Sugar, flour, etc - all weighed out of big sacks.
• United Kingdom
That sounds an interesting shop the old man had. The weighing out of sugar and flour etc. happened in this shop too - nothing was packaged up as it is today. Of course, it's a lot more hygienic now, but I don't remember too many people going down with food poisoning
What a beautiful description. I almost felt I was there in that shop and eyeing all those candies. I do remember a small shop not so far away from where I lived. It was just a 5 minute walk. Whenever money came into my hands mostly a few pice I would run there and would buy roasted peanuts. We never had all those candies that I see in your image. There were hard sugar candies that looked like orange slices which I would buy sometimes.
Yes, I remember shops like this Janet and not only in the countryside. We had something like this in the small street behind the apartment complex where we lived in Milan. Now nothing has left. There are only restaurants, bars and supermarkets. Nothing is the same, but I sill can see those shops in my mind walking through that little lane.
• United Kingdom
Are there really? I don't think there is anything anymore quite like the one I'm talking about here. There are village shops, ( as we spoke about in my previous post), but even they have moved with the times and sell modern packaged goods.
• United States
It sounds fascinating..there is a store here that dates from the 1950's..I guess that is what passes for old around here lol...although some of the buildings in town are from the 1800's.I can attest to that..as one seems to have ancient plumbing!!
• Portland, Connecticut
Yes we had one like that just down the street from our family home in Quebec, I loved to go there in the summer and see what delights that we unknown in the US I could find there and she did have ice cream too!! Now I know that actually the lady that ran it was a cousin of sorts maybe 2nd or third.
We had a local candy store/variety store/ restaurant? That would have been similar. The assortment of candy (50 years ago) was mind boggling. 2 for a penny of 5 for a penny. A nickel bought you a small paper bag full of sweet treats...I. The dry goods section of the store you could buy giftware, sewing notions....some clothing items. Funny...just two months ago...we noticed that the "hardware store" in our new community had all of the giftware and sewing notions...not the candy...and some of it had probably been languishing on the shelves for close to 50 years.