Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Comic books at the drug store

No picture today, just a memory that I haven't thought about in years. I guess memories are just the pictures in our head, so it counts the same to me.

When I was a little kid in the 70s my Grandpa owned an auto repair shop on the corner of 115th and Sandy Blvd, in Portland Oregon. My Mom and Dad worked there as well. After school sometimes my Mom would pick me up from the grade school, about three blocks up the street (I was never allowed to walk), and bring me back to the shop. Hanging around the shop was kind of dull, what with nothing but Chilton's manuals to read, so I would be happy if I could beg a few coins off Mom, Dad, Grandpa, or one of the friendly customers or mechanics, and run over to the drugstore across the street.

The drugstore was a pharmacy with a real soda fountain right up front as you came in. They could pull you a real float, make up an ice cream cone, or just get a pop. They had a long formica counter and the little round stools you could spin around on, and a mirror on the wall behind. I remember the guy behind the fountain telling us jokes :)

Next to the door, against the big front window, was a low rack of magazines. All family-friendly titles as I recall. If they had the other kind, they didn't put them out front. Lots of comic books there. I remember looking through the Archies, Casper, Richie Rich, and Little LuLu. I would sit there going through them while right on the other side of the window the cars rushed by on Sandy Blvd.

It was a real treat to buy a comic and a piece of candy (bit-o-honeys were my favorite for years), and then go back and spend the afternoon in the corner of the shop, watching the comings and goings, reading a comic, and maybe sneaking a hot cocoa or a cup-a-soup (the kind where you'd empty the little envelope into the cup and fill it with hot water - I think it was just salt and artificial flavorings).

Ah, the little corner drugstore. An almost forgotten little bit of my history.

Oh wait, I do have a picture:
This is Grandpa, Chuck Waddell, doing a canned food drive with the Elks, probably back in the 60s. A bit before my time. He was a fine man, worked hard, took care of his family, volunteered to help out in his community. He taught me to take care of what I had, and help people who didn't have as much. He's been gone since I was in college, and I still miss him a lot.

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