Alan Jackson was singing “Remember When?” and I wondered if you remember when.
Do you remember when Ray Allen had a cleaning and pressing shop up near John Fort’s News Stand on Main Street (front street)?
Remember when a man dipped the ice cream cones in the back of Fort’s News Stand?
Or when Luke Garland had his jewelry store near Mrs. Molly David’s shop? And do you remember the lovely hats Mrs. David had in her shop.
Have you forgotten Service Grocery that was owned by Mr. Walter McCoy and Mr. Ellis Wood? Lots of young people, especially boys worked there in the long ago, such as Dr. Sam Williams.
Do you remember the little movie theater next to City Drug Store? It had lots of names – The Scout, The Tower, Brownie and maybe other names that I don’t remember.-
Remember when there was a Nichols’ store along near City Drug Store? Later this was the site of Beall’s. And do you remember the Morgan & Lindsey store?
Remember when Bernice McCoy Cundiff worked for Kennon’s Grocery back in the thirties?
Furniture and Hardware
Remember Paul Wallace Furniture store? Mr. Alvah Williams had the GE distributorship in part of that store. Mr. Leon Fuller worked in the furniture store, and he was such a kind and gentle man.
Do you remember when the big frozen malts cost a nickel at Star Drug Store? One of the men there was Mr. Mildred Alexander (that was his name – Mildred).
Remember all the nice people who worked at Webb Hardware? Mr. Will Life, Mr. Walter White, Mr. and Mrs. George Lorraine, Mrs. Marshall Carson, and Mr. “Doc” Gibson. Doris Monzingo as the bookkeeper there.
Later she was Mrs. Jimmy Lomax and Jimmy worked there, too. I always say that all my furniture is not “Early American” or “French Provincial” but it is “Early Webb Hardware.” The furniture was quality furniture that would last a lifetime and beyond.
Do you remember Brown-Goodwill, owned by Mr. Ed Brown and Mr. Ralph Goodwill? Before World War II they handled Red Cross Shoes, but during the war the name was changed to Gold Cross shoes to keep from thinking they were made by the American Red Cross. The dresses were so lovely there.
I made most of my clothes as a teenager, and later, but I was so proud to have a nice suit or a dress occasionally bought there. Mrs. Dennis and Mrs. Matthews (Sue Norman’s mother) were the nicest ladies to serve you there.
Remember when in the late afternoons Jim Lyons would peddle his Hot Tamales down the street? He counted out your tamales on several sheets of newspapers and quickly wrapped them for you. At Andress where I went to work in 1940 often some of the men would buy a couple of dozen tamales, spread them out on the counter and invite all of us to have some. They were so good.
Remember when Varah Hardy, and later Chloe Waters Powell worked at Wren Mercantile along with the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Lovic Wren? The Skinner Satin for my wedding dress came from there. Their material was the best. Mr. Wren was the sweetest of men, he was old when I was very young.
A Hole in the Counter
Remember those grocery stores along there? E. Henry Lowe’s, Lowe and David, and on down the street was Avinger’s Grocery. Remember that A & P was on Main Street, too.
Remember when stores had a large roll of paper on the end of their counter? Nearby was a huge roll of twine.
Purchases were wrapped in paper and tied with the twine. Not many paper bags were ever used because the paper was cheaper. Sometimes the roll of twine was under the counter and it was pulled up through a hole in the counter. It was that way at Hearne’s in Shreveport and at Sears. One of my children (I’ll not tell you which one) stuck their finger in that hole where the twine was and the finger got stuck. It took a little work for both the store clerk and me to get that finger out so it not to be all skinned up. (Oh, the joys of motherhood.)
Remember when we had several stores that sold men’s clothing? One store that I remember was. first named Flewellyn’s, then Scruggs, then it was called The Gentry and finally Ratcliff’s. Vivian Williams and Maggie Sharp were two clerks who worked there for decades, helping you select shirts, ties and accessories to match the suit you had selected. Do you remember Bridges Clothing Store that was owned and operated by Jack Bridges? It handled men’s furnishings.
And of course we all remember West Bros. that I have written so much about. That was my first real job for Saturdays and I was so happy to have that job. Mr. and Mrs. H. O. West have been gone for many years now, but Claude and Leatrice West, and David and Gloria West Evans are still important parts of our community.
Remember the sweet little lady that did the hemstitching for us? Miss Della Craton. She always had the prettiest blouses in her window. I bought a pretty red one and wore it for my school pictures in the ninth grade.
Remember when it was the custom to sit up at the funeral home when a friend had died? The time was broken up into two hour segments and we sat up around the clock. Often it was husband and wife that sat up, but occasionally it would be two men. That was long ago.
Do you remember when Minden Building and Loan was located on Pearl Street, where Jim Johnson’s law office is located today? And R. H. Miller Insurance Agency was in the adjoining building there, too?
And so, Alan Jackson, I remember when, but it is not the same “remember whens” of your memories. Life was sweet, and we were young, we dreamed our dreams, and most of us lived out our dreams. And now we are old, but we still remember when.
Sometime later I’ll ask you if you remember with me, when other memories come to my mind.
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.