Friday, December 31, 2010

A Walk in the Past

I wrote this very short article for a class. I had a word limit and I don't like word limits. Anyway, here goes.............

The Beloved Store

Allen’s Grocery Store. I used to love that little place. Years ago, the Cotton Mill was the largest place of employment when it was built in 1929 and a small community of employee housing surrounded the thriving factory. Thus, that area of town was nicknamed “Milltown.”

In the heart of Milltown sat one small, white grocery store that still stands there today. It was named after the owner, and I had the pleasure of attending church with him and his family. He passed away while I was five, but his wife lived next door.

I lived within walking distance of the quaint, cozy store. My mother allowed me to walk there after school or during summer break. My friends and I would gather up what change we could find and make the way through the streets of Milltown. One long street, turn to the left, walk a few steps, turn right on Wheeler Street.

Allen’s Grocery Store stood on the corner of two streets. Its big sign on the top, stood out above the roof in bold letters. The front porch had an old ice machine to the left and Mrs. Allen’s white house sat close to the right.

Our summers were always hot and humid, so a nice, cool Coke was what most everyone would have in his hand. The special kind of Coke that you could pop the top on the cold drink machine that sat by the door.

A musty, dirty smell from years of service greeted us when we walked in. We’d hurry to the back, get our drink and then head straight to the candy aisle to stare at what lay before us. We’d walk up and down the old, creaky wooden floor searching for just the right scrumptious candy. Pop Rocks, Reese’s, and Charms Blow Pops; we had our pick. There’s nothing like having the Pop Rocks sizzle and pop in the back of your throat, while pretending that you were going to explode, while the noise of Pac Man or Space Invaders whizzed in the background.

We’d make our selection and head out into the hot air. I’d stop by Mrs. Allen’s house if I saw her sitting on her porch swing on the front porch. She’d wave and always call me her special little friend. The sweet aroma of the magnolia tree in her front yard lingered with me all the way home.

Years passed and Mrs. Allen went to be with the Lord. Luckily the new owners kept the original name. Sadly, I would never allow my child to walk to the old store that I once loved. Old men on the front porch are now replaced with different people. The part of town that I once loved is no longer the same. I’ll always cherish the memories that I have of my favorite place nestled in the heart of Milltown.

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