Saturday, August 13, 2016

PUNCHBOARDS


Joining in today with Beverly’s PINK SATURDAY.

One of my very favorite childhood memories is of Aunt Lou's store---the flappy-screen door with the faded Nehi sign, mistily visible after the thousands of hands opening and slamming to the tinkle of the tiny bell above. The foot-faded old green linoleum, the big shining glass cases of candy and notions and everything from #1.25 eyeglasses to single, unwrapped nipples with little side-flaps to fit onto a Coke bottle for those babies whose families' sparse income was doled out for flour and lard and beans, and Evenflo as dear as a Ford. 


The shelves ran all the way around the store, reaching to the ceiling, and there was no real “shopping” to the transactions---you named off your list, citing pounds of flour, lard, sugar, coffee, and they were weighed out and bagged with a neat fold taped down.   Meats and cloth goods were wrapped in the same paper from the huge roll and big blade, scritch-cut and flipped onto the counter like flipping a sheet onto a bed, and so on and on til your order was filled.   




You stood and waited to be “waited on,” in that store of many scents and as many delights as Scheherazade’s gardens, looking around at all the wonderful possibles hung and leaned and placed on the shelves.    And one of the most wonderful covets in the world was whatever prize stood beside the PUNCHBOARD.


There was always a bright slab of colour hanging enticingly on a nail, almost always at reach-height, awaiting our warm-fisted nickels.   The whole board was like an enormous flat domino to me, with hundreds of little dots to be punched out and unrolled.   A small metal punch like a sardine-key, but with a round end, not like a little screw-driver, hung on its length of  grimy string, ready for all hands to grab and take their chance. 


 The main prize was usually an enormous version of a candy bar or immense pole of peppermint, or my very favorite:  A pretty doll in a lacy dress and wee intricate shoes, or the absolute Pinnacle of the Prize World:   A KEW-PIE Doll.  Kew-Pie.   We’d only seen it written, and that’s what they were, those little impish, naked cherubs with the charming smiles and dimpled knees.   They even SMELLED  delicious, like the very first scent of a Christmas doll combined with maybe vanilla and the fragrance of Aunt Lo’s cosmetics drawer.  They looked like the huggiest creatures on this earth, and we all craved one. 





A long debate as to what-dot: corner or side, or one slap-dab in the middle, a hold-and-push, and a tiny round cylinder emerged from the back of the board, like a tee-ninecy section of one of Mr. Leon’s straws at the drugstore, but solid with the heft of rolled paper and the promise of the message within.  A big WINNER in red or blue or green meant you’d won fifteen cents or forty, or a pack of Camels or Kools or one of the small prizes hung like a nimbus around that shining Kewpie doll. 

Oh, the covet in my heart for one of those!  They were chubby and sweet and everything lovable about a doll, and only the sure thing of a new yellow Ticonderoga pencil, right there for sale and shining with all the words within, kept me from gambling away every spare nickel of my youth.


6 comments:

Beverly said...

Happy Pink Saturday, my dear and sweet friend. I am so glad you joined us today.

My maternal grandparents always had a small country store. We lived in another state, so we only got to visit them once a year. But, what fun it was. My "Ma Bea" always let me choose a cookie and sliced off a hunk of hoop cheese for me. Then the treat was finished off with a bottle of Dr. Pepper. I took my treats and sat on the store porch in one of those ladder back chairs with short legs.

But, I was never aware of punchboards until about ten years ago. My husband and I went to breakfast at a small local diner in the North Carolina mountains. I asked my husband what that was everyone was doing, and he explained the punchboard concept. Well, you know I had to give it a go. And, guess what!!! I won $20. Pure beginners luck, I know. But, the locals were giving me some looks to be sure.

donna baker said...

My great grandfather owned a country store in McKinney, TX, but I never met him. I do love the olden day general stores though. I have been in them with just the counters etc. left. Surely a different lifetime.

LV said...

I can certainly relate to what you shared today. My grandmother on my mother's side was my favorite. On my daddy's side, she died the day I was born. Never knew her. World of fond memories from the past. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I appreciate it very much.

Jeanne said...

Hello Rachel dear, My sister and I arrived home on Tuesday and it took a few days to get caught up with the housework after Bill being alone with Carmen's dog and ours for over two weeks. Yikes. He is not what you call a man who can take care of himself. I failed with my training. It never took you might say. HA! However, the dogs were fine and happy. That is good enough. We had a wonderful trip for sure.

We had a general store in our small town but my dad's brothers owned an IGA grocery store 10 miles away. His other brother owned the feed store. We were very fortunate when it came to needing groceries and feed for our animals. Uncle Kenny would call and tell us when the new feed sacks were in so we could all go and pick out the feed sacks fabric patterns for our dresses. We still loved to go to the general store where our pennies and nickles could buy a lot of candy.

My sister LOVES anything Kew-pie. I have never played a punch card like you described. I just asked Bill if he did that and he said yes. With 6 children in our family, I guess we just didn't have the extra money. I would have loved it!

Thank you for your comments on Pink Saturday. We were on the road traveling last week. I am happy to be visiting today. Yes, the rose is so real looking. My cousin would spend hours fine tuning her paintings. Sometimes weeks if she wasn't happy with what she is doing. She will try painting anything.

I am taking time to catch up with your past posts. You know I am one of your biggest fans. When I read last weeks post it made me smile when you told me you took 'two' trips. Wonderful Rachel.

Time for a rest. More later dear.
Much love,
Jeanne

bj said...

Dear Heart....I so so hope you will write a book, let me know when it's published and for sale on Amazon so that I can buy a copy .....
you write with such vigor and vim that I always hate to see the ending...I want it to go on and on....I have some great old-time memories but lack the talent for writing that you have.
Ah....THE PUNCH BOARD....how well I remember them...I won nickles..and candy...and once a tiny purse...but it was a doll that I dreamed of taking home with me. It didn't happen...and the first thing I knew, all the punch boards seemed to disappear out of the businesses.

Deanies Stash said...

Loved this. There is a country store down the road from us that used to be like that. It is still decorated with all the old stuff and has such a wonderful old feeling when you are in there.

xo Dianne