I’m reminiscing at Turtle Rock. The Ol’ Curmudgeon posted about making ice cream sodas and ice cream sodas past.
My childhood soda-maker was Mr. Martin at Westbrooks’ Pharmacy. Westbrooks had comic books in stacks. We neighborhood kids would take our carefully saved allowances and go down and pour over the comics. We would dicker and argue over which ones to get. Dr. Westbrook kept a good selection. He knew if the kids liked the store, they’d bring their parents and grandparents in. Those of us who lived near each other would often work out a negotiation. You buy that one, and I’ll buy this one, and so-and-so buy the other one and we’ll trade.
First job done – comics chosen and purchased. Now for the second – getting ice cream confections! Susanne was a soda person. I liked malteds. Philip liked sundaes. Lewis didn’t really care, Doug liked malteds, and Bucky liked ’em all. Well, we all liked ’em all, but we had our preferences. I had my share of sodas.
Mr. Martin made all the stuff at the counter. He made his sodas a bit differently. He put the 2-4 squirts of chocolate syrup in, but he always added a squirt of vanilla, too. Then the first soda water and stir like mad. 3 scoops of ice cream, and more soda, then a little more chocolate syrup, some whipped cream and a cherry on top! This was another negotiation. Because none of us could afford a whole soda, couldn’t drink/eat the whole thing alone, either, so we’d “share.” Unless Doug was there, I couldn’t get my malted, so I had my share of chocolate and vanilla sodas – shared with whichever person was there. Then I discovered Strawberry sodas!! OMG! I became a “soda person” overnight!
OK comics chosen, soda or other confection obtained, now was the time to read comics while we ate confections! There would be more dickering – I want to read my comic first, it’s mine! You already read it when we were picking them out! I don’t care, I wanna read MY comic! You promised! and on and on and on! Once those dickers were worked out, there was one more major problem – who got the cherry?? Well, Mr. Martin had a solution. For 2 cents more, he’d put on enough cherries for each of us to have one! I think Dr. Westbrook got tired of our arguing and told Mr. Martin to do that.
When I was older, I discovered something else – Mr. Martin made wonderful sandwiches. Now, the Ol’ Curmudgeon doesn’t like sandwiches this way, and I haven’t had one like this in years. But this was the way Mr. Martin made them: Toast the bread in the pop-up toaster. Trim crust off AFTER it came out of the toaster. The spread mayo on both sides, layer on the sandwich stuff (choices were limited: ham and cheese, chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad – I liked the “salad sandwiches” best), add a piece or two of lettuce, a slice of tomato (skinned, of course!), top with the other piece of bread, then whacked in two in a triangle, served on a china plate with a pickle and some chips. Add a malted on the side and it was a perfect lunch!! And I didn’t want any supper, either!
Dr. Westbrook tolerated us kids sitting on the comic stacks and reading them all without buying them! Of course, eventually we’d buy them all, and the new ones would come in.
As we got older, we read, and bought other magazines – Seventeen, HotRod, Popular Mechanics, etc., but the comics continued to be a major attraction even into our mid to late teens.
Westbrooks’ is long gone, now. When I drive by the old neighborhood I note with nostalgia all the changes in the little shopping area where Westbrooks used to be. Nearly everyone in the neighborhood has changed. The oldsters have died off, younger people have come in and renovated the old houses. My grandmama’s house that I sold for $35k is now on the market again – for $350k!! The woods behind the houses is gone – a condo-community has been built there.
Rhodes Bakery moved 3 miles up the street, Broyles’ Grocery is gone, the meat market is gone, The Old Hickory House is gone. The hardware store and the 5 and dime are gone. There are newer, yuppier stores and a trendy restaurant along there, now. None of the new ones are kid-friendly or even kid-attractive. There will be no more sodas at Westbrooks.