Minden Press-Herald

Oct 01st

Memories of products and stores

Juanita Agan-1Do you remember the little grape drink that we enjoyed long ago called "Grapette?" I don't know if there are still drinks being bottled by that name, but it was a delicious, rich tasting grape drink.

Sometimes I think of something we always bought and used as I grew up, and then I remember that it has not been on the shelves for a long time here in Minden.
Perhaps some of those things of my memory may still be sold elsewhere in the United States, but I have not seen them here in decades.

The first powdered washing powder that my mother used was when I was about 6 (and that would be over seventy-one years ago,) was called "Rinso," and I thought the name was so catchy that I insisted on naming my new puppy "Rinso."

My mother found it easier to wash clothes with that than with the old P & G Bar Soap or the Octagon Soap, which was a stronger, yellow bar soap. She believed in Airy Fairy Flour, and Mrs. Tucker's Lard back then. Later she changed to Snowdrift and finally she decided she liked Crisco best.

The same was true of the flour, as she changed first to Pillsbury and finally to Gold Medal. Today, I still buy what my mother thought was the best -Crisco and Gold Medal Flour.

Thinking of old stores here in Minden, I recall my mother buying Morning Joy coffee at the old Jitney Jungle on "Back Street" where Grider's Glass is today. Later she changed to Maxwell House and finally she decided that Folger's was the best.

You can be sure that today I only buy Folger's because Mother thought it was best. When I was younger, Mother always used Standard Coffee and it was sold and delivered by the Standard Coffee Man.

There are so many products that are unknown to the present generation today. Remember Red Cross Shoes, Hummingbird Stockings, and Tangee Lipstick. And did your mother ever give you Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic, Three'9's, or Bromo Quinine Tablets. Also, there was a medicine called Hadacol.

Along with the long ago products there were stores that we no longer have to shop in. Stores that we shopped in included A & P, Piggly Wiggly, Wren Mercantile, Jitney Jungle, City Drug Store, David Drug Store, Webb Hardware, Paul Wallace Furniture, Flewellyn's, Bridges Clothing Store, E. Henry Lowe, Service Grocery and Wise Grocery.

There were others that are long gone, too.

The changes have taken place in the automobiles. No longer do we see Studebakers, Willys, Kaiser-Frazier, nor the short-lived Edsel, or the car of long ago called the Austen. Missing from our scene today are the dealerships of our memory - Andress Motors Company, Standard Chevrolet, Parker Buick, and Brackin Motors.

I wish that I could once again walk into Andress Motors Company and visit with all those I worked with forty years ago. These businesses were here for several decades, and have now been gone for several decades. In fact, the old Andress Motors Company building is now just a hole between two buildings.

Jitney Jungle was followed by Dixie Dandy, and then it was succeeded by Minden Market. Now all of these are gone. We had Morgan & Lindsey, Nichols, Ellis Store, T G & Y, and later Bealls. All these are no longer here, but we have three "dollar" stores now. There is no movie house or a Men's clothing store. Stage and Wal-Mart are the only places to buy men's clothing that I know about.

When we drive through Minden, in our mind we visualize the stores that we once shopped in, we remember the ones who clerked there, and we remember the brands that were handled.

Some of the buildings have other tenants, but some are now vacant. It is lonely looking at vacant buildings and wishing that we could turn back the years and once again buy an ice cream cone at Thad's Double Dip, or later go for a cup of coffee at Thad's Cafe.

It would be wonderful to walk into Wren Mercantile and have Varah Hardy show us some of the lovely bolts of cloth to make dresses, or ask Mr. Life or George or Inez Lorraine to show us a new chair or a couch that we might like to buy at Webb Hardware. How good it would be to talk once again with Mr. Rollin Williams, Sr. at City Drug Store, and have him recommend a medicine for a pesky head cold.

Today, we have Loye's Pharmacy that is owned and operated by our hometown folks, and there is the same feeling we had in the old City Drug Store.

The streets were two-way streets back then and when it changed to one-way streets the parking was so much easier. Also when Monroe Street became one way it helped vehicles that were trying to get to the Emergency Room at the Minden Medical Center.

I wonder if the water tower on the boulevard between the First Methodist Church and the First Baptist Church still overflows and leaves the streets wet and puddles everywhere. It was a periodic occurrence when I worked downtown. But, of course, there were two water towers back then, and one of them has been gone for many years.

The churches have changed. Along with the new church buildings there is a change in the format of services. I still miss the old fashioned way of starting the morning services singing the Doxology, and I miss the long revivals that gave us a new lease on our Christian life.

The old hymns with their message have been replaced by catchy choruses. Many of them have the same message but the words are delivered with a tune in a different tempo. I like the choruses, too.

It would be so nice to walk into a really "hometown bank" such as the old Minden Bank and speak to Clara Johnson Davis, or Charlie Davis, or visit the old Peoples Bank and speak to Jeannine Miller, or Melba McCrary, or Ela Upshaw. The Minden Building and Loan still has that warm hometown feeling, and has people in charge who know you and really seem to care about you.

Juanita Agan submitted a weekly column to the Press-Herald for more than 15 years until her deathin 2008. She was a resident of Minden since 1935. The Press-Herald is republishing select articles from Mrs. Agan's Cameos column every Wednesday.






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