the only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once. – albert einstein


longs drugs 1938

stopped by

a local independent pharmacy

with a name that ends in ”II”

even though

they have no store with “I”

after its name


fell into a time warp


i was

in an old five and dime and drug store

both rolled into one

the aspirin

and many other things

looked like

they had been there for ages

with a slight yellow tint to them


were the only ones

left on the shelves

time stood still

in that little store

nothing had changed

in years

it had slipped

through the cracks

and then

i looked closer


 saw the rest


there were

tiny glass animals

 titanic coloring book

wild buck notecards

men’s dress socks

magic tricks

meercat attack animal warning signs

chocolate milk

grill mitts

mermaid activity books

comfortable chairs for waiting at the pharmacy

golden books

necco wafers

animal suction cup toothbrush holders

a metal cigarette box

with an exotic woman on it


‘i stole your boyfriend’

face powder

 ceramic neon sandal

fax service

 how to tie nautical knots book

 prescription delivery sign

kitten puzzles

postcards with puns

whitetailed_deer_note_cards_pk_of_20dream catchers

a grab bag for $1.00

filled with

old greeting cards

you had to take your chances

it was all whimsy

and old-fashioned-ness

mixed with

medical supplies and drugs and novelty

and a dash of

twilight zone

 i loved discovering

all of

the special things

about it

and the best of all


 the tiny woman over 80

standing vigil at the front register

who rang up the order for a total of



a young manager

quite pregnant

 on her way out


when she called to her for help

 came back

to fix the slight overcharge

and said,

‘now, don’t give her change for $3,400, she didn’t give you that much’

it was


for my tiny glass giraffe

she nodded




full of grace

her hair was done


matching earrings and necklace

 the beautiful older woman

was relieved

when i paid cash

i gave her 2 worn singles

 she gave me

a shiny quarter back

wrapped my animal

in tissue paper

folded it into a little bag

she smiled

and told me to come back very soon

 i will.

time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.
– nathaniel hawthorne

image credits: longs drugs 1938, salvador dali, persistence of time 1931, getty images

68 responses »

  1. Oh, my, Beth. You beautifully crafted story about that artfully put-together store could have been written in every decade since the fax machine came out. That’s three now, I figure. Take that one item out, and make it six decades!

    There may have been a YOURSTORE I back then?

    How nice for your neighborhood. )


    • thanks, mark and i’d say the fax is their nod to technology and trying to come up to speed. judging by the merchandise i’d guess: the owner does his/her own thing, does not follow any sort of corporate model, loves people, the sea, books, children, toys, and has an eccentric sense of humor and the world.


  2. sounds like a great place to do some shopping. Loved the line ‘don’t give her change for $3,4000…’ the manager sounds like a very nice lady


  3. Oh my, that takes me back to the Veazey’s drugstore that was three blocks from my house when I was growing up (in the ’50s). I spent many hours in there, especially at the fountain. My favorite drink to order on a hot Oklahoma day was a cherry phosphate, a sort of sparkling cherry soda. The pharmacy gave away free suckers to kids. The aisles were stocked with all the sort of things you described.


  4. You certainly did walk into a Time Warp, Beth! That was amazing how many strange and bizarre things you found there! I could not figure out which store with the “ll” it was! But it sounds like the old Five and Dime stores. I am so glad you bought the treasure of a giraffe, with less than $2! Even though I don’t smoke, I would have bought that cigarette box, so I could store some change or headache pills in it. I may have bought the yellowed aspirin for just the ‘flavor’ of them! Wow, you sure do find wondrous things that are either mysterious or colorful. One or the other, every day!


  5. This is lovely, Beth. I can see you there casting your eye around and smiling at each new discovery. I love that they have retained their own way of doing things and not fallen into the generic trap. My own local independent chemist has ‘twin shops’ at each end of the Main Street. They’re not quite so charming as this but they do house an eclectic mix of goods and both display them quite differently. One in particular I like to mosey around while waiting on a prescription. And I always end up buying something I never went in for in the first place. 🙂


  6. This reminds me of a store I used to visit on my way home from Jr. High – I could get silver charms for a few dollars. I’d be careful of the aspirin, but everything else… sigh.


  7. Beautiful way to remember childhood memories, it’s always nice to go back to our childhoods such a fun time in our lives.


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