Thursday, December 18, 2008
Mathews folks will recognize this as Cobbs Creek Market. I know it's been there a while (as in forever), but at one point in time Alda's parents ran this as well as Port Haywood Market. Remember when the door/entrance was on the side of the store facing the road (directly under the Coke sign in this picture--you can see it's all boarded up)? There are various rumors as to what's going to open up here ever since it shut down several months ago. (Or years ago? I lose track.) Personally I'd like to see a Vietnamese restaurant or a Japanese steak house, but something tells me that ain't happening.
Speaking of old stores, that reminds me of my grandmother, Nanny.
Nanny was my favorite grandmother, and perhaps my favorite person, of all time. She was from Gloucester, born a Strigle; her mother's maiden name was Kemp; and she wound up a Jones by marriage. She ran a store out of just about every building between Flat Iron and Gloucester Court House, or so it seemed. She raised my mother by herself, and worked a paying job almost until her very last days on this Earth.
She had no license and no car, so she had to walk to get to the store, which was either Leigh's Market (where I "accidentally" stole a candy bar and, when confronted, hid underneath her bed and denied taking it), or the Colonial Store in Gloucester Court House or Safeway, where the Gloucester Library now stands.
Of course to walk to any of these stores, we had to pass by Tuckers--the most incredible toy store this side of FAO Schwartz except it had wooden planks for a floor, and a delightfully musty old smell-- in the court house circle next to the CJ Kerns Real Estate building. Tuckers made the walk from Corr Street to the grocery store all the longer, but more than worth the effort.
No matter where we went (where "went" equals "hoofed it"), I'd be starved half to death whenever we finally lugged the groceries all the way back to her petite house. But you could never open up anything or touch anything or slobber over the accidentally-procured candy bar until she went down her ticket and checked the price tag on the product against what she was charged by the check-out lady. She'd pull a pencil from behind her ear and start checking, and counting, and re-checking, and re-counting, and ciphering and STARVING A POOR, HUNGRY, IMPATIENT, DETAIL-DISORIENTED CHILD--CLUTCHING A CONTROVERSIAL CANDY BAR--TO DEATH.
In the unfortunate candy bar episode, she picked up her rotary phone, dialed Leighs Market, and told them we had an illegal candy bar outside the store premises. They thanked her and said she could pay them next time she came by, but the lesson was not lost on me. All I can remember is hiding underneath that bed counting the mattress springs, because Have Mercy was she gonna let me have it once I came out.
I miss my Nanny, and I miss Tuckers toy store, but I do not miss having to wait for the coast to be clear so I could escape from underneath a bed where I held the most delectable candy bar ever to be gently lifted from Leighs Market. I honestly did not know I had stolen anything, either that or I had really convinced myself that I hadn't.
The details escape me.