Friday, January 13, 2012

The End Of An Era. Again.

I check the online edition of the Barnesville, Georgia, Herald-Gazette almost daily.  I need to know who's died, who's living, and other assorted happenings from the Mayberry I grew up in.

It was here where I read Carter's Drug Store was closing.

I remember going to Carter's when I was a young boy.  Mr. J. R. Smith would send me there, just around the corner from the Ford place, to pick up cigars for him.  Yes, at six or seven years old, I could walk into Carter's and get Mr. Smith half-a-dozen Hav-A-Tampa Coronas.  Without identification.  And without money.

All I had to say was "Mr. Smith needs some cigars", and Mr. Stoney Carter would hand them to me, write the items down on a sales pad, and send me on my way.  I was stimulating the economy by using credit before I was in the second grade.

For what it's worth, I could do similar things at Shelor's Drug Store down Main Street, Otis Roberts' Florist, and Burnette's Grocery, to name a few.  Mr. Jim Murphy had a jewelry repair shop across the "square" from Carter's.  Bought clothes at Romeo's Fine Men's Wear and Mansour's.  Saw Santa at Wisebram's (strange that a Jewish store owner would have Santa, but hey--money's money).  Bought my first ex-fiancee's engagement ring at Moore and Zorn's Jewelers.

I could walk across the railroad tracks from the Ford place to the Dairy Queen and Mrs. Pritchett would start grilling my hamburger before I got in the door.  And give me a squeeze bottle of ketchup instead of those annoying little packets.

They're all gone now, along with Davis-Cooper Ford (which is what J. R. Smith Ford became), Daddy's Amoco Station (replaced by a McDonald's), the Frosty Palace, McConnell's and McClellan's Five and Dime, and just about everything else I grew up with.

It was at Carter's that I encountered some cadets from Gordon Military College (then Gordon Junior College, now just Gordon College) one day.  As I gathered Mr. Smith's cigars one of the cadets asked me who my "old man" was.

I told them I didn't have an old man, but my Daddy was Roscoe Berry.  They just laughed.

I'd pick up the phone and tell Miss Sara I wanted to talk to Daddy and she'd connect me.  We thought we'd gone big-time when we got dial phones.  Our number was 358-3404 and you didn't have to dial the area code first.

We got air-conditioning in our house when I was twelve or thirteen.  Before that we used a "draw-fan" to keep the air stirring in the daytime and cool the house at night.  We left the windows open and the cars unlocked.

There's more--so much more--but suffice it to say I miss Mayberry Barnesville.

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