The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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This was told to me by my mom, Suzanne, and it was one of her favorite childhood memories from growing up in St. Louis, Missouri.

Drugstore Heaven


Sue was 10 years old, in 1964, and lived in a very Catholic area of St. Louis, Missouri. The neighborhood was overflowing with lots of large families varying from 4 to 12 kids. Growing up in a family of seven children was crazy, but fun! However, money was tight and if you wanted spending money, you had to get a job. At the age of 10 years old, Sue would babysit for families in her neighborhood earning 50 cents an hour plus tips! With her hard-earned savings, she would bike down to a neighborhood store called “Halls Drugstore” with her best friend Marion Krom to splurge on the treats the store had to offer. Sue was a bit overweight, the kids teased her sang a song “Fatty Fatty 2 by 4” to her when they saw her. Her trip to the store with her friend was an oasis away from those cruel kids. 

Entering the drug store, she was embraced with the numerous lingering aromas. The scent of sugar, from seemingly endless jars of treats located across the counter, filled the air. Twizzlers, M&Ms, cookies, ice cream, lemon drops, chocolate bars, lollipops and much more. The smell of paper hovering throughout the store from the magazines, comic books, and medicine packaging. Scents of new printed ink mingled with the aromas of today’s newspapers.

Hopping on the swivel seat at the counter she turned around and around.  The clerk behind the counter was dressed in a white coat and pants along with a cute hat asked, “What will you have?” Sue ordered her favorite drink. As the red juice dropped into the brown drink, the two liquids swirled together in the perfect ratio of a cherry coke. The bubbles slowly rise to the surface as the carbonation fizzes. With a satisfied “Ahh,” Sue takes a long refreshing sip of her drink and munches on a twizzler. As she sat there enjoying her sweets, she turned her attention to the comic book in hand. Today’s comic is Archie and Betty, one of her favorites, rivaling Little Lulu and Scrooge McDuck.

She and her friend, Marion, swung their feet, kicking the counter, swiveled their chairs and watched as other people came in and out.  They read their comics and laughed about the stories and gossiped about their school, their friends and their families. This was a world she could stay in forever until she remembered her mom expected her to be home for dinner.

When she got home, her mom would have Sue and her siblings wash up and dress in nice clothes. They would meet their dad up the street so they could all enjoy a short ride back to the house in the car. After the minute-long drive, they would sit down at the dining table to have dinner.

Drugstore Heaven

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