Another of the self-service grocery stores in my memory is the Piggly Wiggly store that was located on Gleason Street across from the old Armory. That was the second location of the Piggly Wiggly store. Today, that is where the office of the Minden Press-Herald is located. I think the first Piggly Wiggly was the one on the corner of Monroe and Pearl (across from the present location of the post office). Later it was moved to the former location of the A & P store on East Union where Auto Zone is located. We also had another Piggly Wiggly on Homer Road where Rite-Aid Drug store is today.
The first self-service store of my childhood was a Piggly Wiggly in Shreveport where I was born and lived until I was about 10. It was there that my mother bought the first laundry powder to wash clothes. The detergent was named “Rinso.” I thought that was just the cutest name and insisted on naming my new puppy “Rinso.” I was about six and Mother let me get away with that name.
The manager of the Minden Piggly Wiggly of my memories was Mr. Cary Adams. The folks in the meat market were so nice and helpful. Mr. Adams reminded me that there was a Mrs. Zelda Milam who worked in the market for many years. Also, there was a Mr. and Mrs. Bill McMullen, and Carolyn Stinson. Mr. Adams said his wife, Marion, also worked there. The butchers of my memories were Mr. Lloyd Lyons, and a Mr. Gray. Mr. Gray now works at the Sava-A-Lot store out East Union.
There were several check out ladies that waited on me. One was Mrs. Minnie Harris. She was efficient, so helpful and humorous, too. One day a woman checked out and she had selected the biggest apples, the largest oranges and several other things that neither Minnie nor I could afford. When she checked out she produced food stamps. I thought Minnie would have a stroke. She and I realized that we both worked and could not afford the things that woman bought with her food stamps.
Another checker was Mrs. Johnnie Sloan. One day as I stood in line waiting to be checked out, she suddenly closed and locked the register and rang for the manager. I was astounded. What was going on? I soon learned that the woman at the head of the line was a known shoplifter. She always carried one of those large bags that had the handles of wood that were about 10 inches across. That made her handbag hold a lot of something. The manager quickly opened that bag and there was a carton of cigarettes. The clerks who were checkers had been warned to let the manager know when this woman was in the store. I do not know what transpired after that but we were all “shook up” over that incident.
No Good Check?
On another occasion my husband went in to pick up a few things for me. When he was checking out he quickly made out his check and handed it to Mrs. Sloan. She said that she was sorry but she could not accept that check. My husband was dumbfounded. He could not believe that she thought the check was no good. With a twinkle in her eye she pointed out that he had made the check payable to Jitney Jungle instead of Piggly Wiggly. He then saw the humor in the situation, but it had not been funny at all earlier.
One day as I started to drive out of the parking lot at the store I saw Mr. Adams come around the corner. Just at that time a small puppy hardly bigger than my hand ran under my car. I called to Mr. Adams to please help get it out. He said “no way” that if he did I would leave him holding that little dog. I saw that if it was to be it would be up to me. I picked up the puppy and attempted to give it to someone, and no one would take it. I must say that I fell in love with that little bit of dog, so I brought him home.
I named him “Troubles,” and how fitting a name that turned out to be. For starters, he ate the shoes off the feet of my elderly yardman as he knelt to pull weeds out of my flowerbeds. The shoes dropped off his heel and Troubles got a good start chewing the back off the shoes. He also ate the yardman’s straw hat. Later, he got under the house and managed to pull the wires that connected to our floor furnace controls loose from the electric switch. No heat!! I summoned an electrician. Three times Troubles did the same damage. The third time the electrician refused to come back again. He said to get rid of the dog. I just changed electricians. Now all these items were in addition to the canned food that we bought for him, and even some table scraps.
Juanita Agan submitted a weekly column to the Press-Herald for more than 15 years until her death in 2008. She was a resident of Minden since 1935. The Press-Herald is republishing select articles from Mrs. Agan’s Cameos column every Wednesday.