Joining in today with
PINK SATURDAY. Beverly
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.
’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. Leon
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