Letters to ...

Small world, but it
all looks the same

... but my daughter lives in Melrose ...

from Eleanor Jenkins

Good Morning Don,

I would be honored if you think I have something to share. I often sit here and remember my early years in Philadelphia and canít help but realize how close they were to what the Melrosianís also experienced. You have been appealing for other people from Melrose to contribute, I donít fit that category.

But my daughter lives in Melrose not me.

As always, I enjoy reading the Melrose Mirror from "cover to cover" every month. Melrose is a small town, I grew up in a big city, but some of the memories could be from either place. Another writer mentioned working in a grocery store and taking orders over the phone for home deliveries. We didn't have the luxury of a phone and many of our neighbors didnít either, there was a nearby grocery store run by two brothers. One tended the store, the other walked through out the neighborhood sitting in the living room taking orders from the housewives for their weekly grocery order. He came to our house every Tuesday. And every Thursday the groceries were delivered.

For forgotten items, there was a corner grocery on almost every corner. One city block from where I lived there was Unity Frankford on one corner, across the street was an American Store (precursor to Acme Markets) and on a third corner there was an Atlantic Pacific grocery store which later became the A & P. Our house was just three houses from a corner Butcher shop where my mother bought all of her meats. (Canned goods and produce came from the other store).

Across the street was a candy store that sold Breyers Ice Cream (only available in Philadelphia at that time) and penny candy. For an Ice cream treat I would carry a large glass bowl over to the candy store and tell him what Ice Cream I wanted and he would dip it out into the glass bowl, cover it with a waxed paper and I would carry it home. There were three dip sizes as I recall -- three cents, five cents and seven cents. My mother used to tell me to get the five cent ones so we could have three flavors if we wanted them. I have been trying to remember the flavors as there weren't too many of them back then. I believe we could choose Vanilla, Chocolate, Orange Ice, Strawberry or butterscotch. As I recall most of my orders were for Chocolate, Vanilla and Orange Ice one of each for each person at our house that day. (That was most often the treat for company).

He had a public phone in the corner of his store. It was the complete box with the folding glass door for privacy.

If my aunt or uncle wanted to get in contact with us by phone, they would call that public phone. The proprietor (we called Pop) would answer the phone run down the street wiping his hands on his apron as he ran to our house, ring the doorbell and tell us there was a phone call. One of us would grab a coat, drop a nickel in Pop's hand and usually beat him back to the store to answer the phone. If we had to make a phone call that is where we went also.

Sorry I got carried away.

Eleanor Jenkins


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