Friday, April 3, 2009

Sibley's General Store

This is a picture of Cecil Sibley's store which now houses the Mathews County Visitor and Information Center. I'll talk more about all that in a minute, but first let's take a glimpse into how my brain interprets things.

While most of you probably see a store and a stop sign, not necessarily in that order, the very first thing I see are lines. Vertical lines, horizontal lines. Lines, lines, lines.

Running down the brick wall on the right are lines which lead your eye to the up and down lines of the signs and then the left to right line of the Main Street sign. I then jump to the left and right lines of the electrical wire and then the up and down and left to right lines of the store, its windows, then the up and down/left to right lines of the porch rails. There are even lines in the crosswalk of the street. Lines. Lots of lines. Definitely lots of lines.

The line-obsessed portion of this post is now over.

The strong desire to talk about the movie Rain Man is being squelched by my desire to talk about Sibley's, but remind me to come back to my Rain Man tendencies some time, preferably in the presence of a trained professional.

Sibley's General Store was a functioning commercial establishment when I was comin' along, and Mr. Cecil Sibley ran it. Mamma would take me there to get horse feed or vegetable seeds, with the occasional need for a halter or curry comb. (In spite of the rat's nest that was my hair, the curry comb was for our resident stubborn pony.)

A sweet, helpful man, Mr. Sibley and his white hair presided behind the counter except for those times when he disappeared into the back room. When he returned, he always produced exactly what you came in there to purchase, no matter how obscure the item.

Today, Sibley's houses the local tourist information center. Behind the main store is a smaller building dating to the mid-1800's. Some architects believe it's one of the few examples of ______________. (Fill in the blank with an impressive word which has to do with something that's really, really old and valuable, because I can't remember what it is and even so my word would be entirely unimpressive.)

Sibley's has been nominated to the register of Virginia landmarks. Whether accepted or not, the store is a treasure loaded with fond memories of simpler times when there were no Wal-Marts, and most of your non-grocery needs could be met by a friendly man wearing an apron, standing behind the counter of a small country store.


Annie said...

Ah, I'm first, I'm first! How exciting, I beat Grandma J.
btw cbw I think you forgot to mention the horizontal wall boards on the exterior of the store..

Would "heritage" be an approximation to the word you lost there?

It reminds me very much of a little country store at Brookfield, not very many miles from where I live on the outer edge of Brisbane. It also is definitely photographic=able.. (mmm, is that a word?), and should be on some heritage register also! I was surprised to see it pop up on someone else's Brisbane blog yesterday.

Altho' she posted the little hairdresser's shop next door to the store, I fully expect she will come up with a photo of the store itself before has a rail for tying up your pony/horse.. (there is a pony club over the road).

I am very good at getting off the subject here...those were the good old days of shopping, despite what we might have thought at the time of changing over to supermarkets.

Annie, jetlagged and awake in NY at 4am again!

Annie said...

By the way, I have discovered a tree quite like the one of yours in the post below...right outside my window, but it is very hard to photograph, first thru the window/screen,and another bare tree just in front of it...but I am very excited to be able to watch it flower for a while! Not quite as magnificent as yours either...more like a few branches, but lovely none the less!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Annie, I sure do hope you get a nap today. If I woke up and stayed up at 4 a.m., I'd be ready for a nap by about 6:30.

The word I am searching for has to do with architecture, I think. As in, it's one of the few examples of mid-1800's/early American architecture? Actually, I have no idea what word it is because I haven't had my coffee yet and really could go back to bed and sleep until noon; except I can't. Too much to do today.

Photographicable is definitely a word, just like chuggaluggable is a word. For example: The pot of coffee that I just brewed is chuggaluggable and is so strong it's hardly recognizeable as coffee. You'll definitely be photographicable after drinking it.

It's Friday.

Mental P Mama said...

So we'll be going there in July? As the tourists? We have lost all our stores like that. Progress I think it's called.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

MPM - Sibleys will definitely be a stop on the tour. You'll love it.

Annie said...

Well, yes, I will definitely be getting a nap, as I have every other day. I try to help mind baby in the morning while A tries to get some work done here on his software business, then I get to sleep in the aftnoon while he minds the baby!

I am now onto my morning cup of Chai, trying to keep myself awake. I seem to have failed in my grandmotherly duties here...can't get this little lad to sleep unless we go out walking! Looks like a walk in the rain today! That'll be interesting! I got some great shots of some beautiful daffodils yesterday...what fun!
...and now it appears I am talking to my sister in Melbourne on is an interesting world!

Daryl said...

I see what you see ... do you see the colors or just the shapes/angles? I dont see the colors .. and it makes people crazy when I say that ... NO I dont shoot in BW and NO I dont see in BW .. I just dont 'see' the colors .. and you think you're crazy .. HA!

I cant ever find a right word (or remember what its for) so I am not going to attempt to fill in the blank.

I am now officially adding Sibley's to the Blogfest agenda .. I need my own photo op

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

I don't see the lines like you see them. I wouldn't have noticed them if you hadn't pointed it out and looked back at the photo a few times to really see them all. Yep, there are lines, sure 'nuff.

You'll have to ask my husband about how he "sees" English as Math. At least I think that's what he was saying...

My uncle and his brother ran a grocery / hardware store and that was where I had my first job. Your post here has inspired me to write about it just as soon as I can find - MAKE - the time, which will be after I finish and file our stupid tax return.

foolery said...



Go ahead; throw ANY architectural question at me. I'm ready.

In the tiny and very remote town of Hana, in Maui, there is a general store known for carrying EVERYTHING. Hasegawa General Store -- there is even a song about it. Hana needs it because it's about a three-hour drive 50 miles to the next town, with 600 gnarly curves (not joking) in between. It'll be 100 next year.

I love places like that. Is Sibley's still in business as a store, or just as a visitor's center?

"Two minutes to Wapner . . . K-Mart SUCKS . . ."

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Annie, hang tight, the sun may just break through yet. WE've had dreary clouds and rain all morning long but the wind has kicked up and is blowing it all outta here. I actually see sun, however fleeting it may be.

Daryl - Glad to know I'm not the only one who sees stuff this way. To answer your question, in THIS picture I see the lines/shapes, in another, less linear picture I'd probably notice the colors more and assign some arbitrary meaning to them. The short answer is it depends. It's all very interesting, how we take in and process information.

Meg - Maybe Curt has a little Rain Man in him too? Rain Man could see the toothpicks on the floor as a number. Can Curt memorize the phone book?

Foolery - Your 600 gnarly hairpin turns sent a wave of nausea through me...I get car sick just hearing about that. Oh, and once again you hit the nail on the head with the Rain Man reference. Every time I am getting the kids ready for the bus stop (on the days I don't work), I will say, "Five minutes to WAppner," and they know that's their five minute warning. I thought it definitely, definitely had to be Kmart for the underwear. Definitely boxers. Boxers from K-Mart. Definitely.

Auds at Barking Mad said...

We just lost another store like that not far from where I live...along the main street. It was similar to a 5 and dime now that I think about it. But it had been there for 78 years and had a soda fountain that, until the day it closed, used to draw the kids from the local high school and Bowdoin College which was right up the street from the store.

They had the best root beer floats and one of the ladies who worked behind the counter had been there for 50 years and made THE BEST tuna melts. *sigh*

It wasn't a victim of "progress" but of the recession. I actually cried when I heard it was closing. I hadn't been in over a year, but it was the one thing I genuinely loved about this area.

tj said...

..."German architecture"? I haven't a clue - I wish I could come up with some fancy word but,*insert crickets chirping here*... :oD

...Love the ol' store! We have a store similar to that called "Crane's Country Store", it has the ol' pot bellied stove in it with ol' men sittin' around it chewin' their tobacco. They have the best selection of Carthart you'll ever wanna find... :o)

...I love the old style sign that says "Main Street"...

...Have a nice weekend CBFamily! Blessings... :o)

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Auds, that is so sad to hear. These places are one of a kind, they don't make 'em like that any more. On an unrelated note, in response to your question on the Blog Fest website, YES, YES, YES, AND IF YOU DIDN'T HEAR IT YES! Please bring some Maine lobster when you come. But don't feel pressured to or anything.....

TJ - So good to hear from you. Seems like every small town has the Man Hangout that involves chewing tobacco, plaid flannel shirts and tall, tall tales. When areyou going to start your blog back up?? I miss your humor. Can you catch a ride to Blog Fest with Grandma J.? Please??

Grandma J said...

"Some architects believe it's one of the few examples of: a decrepit old battleaxe."

Oh wait, you mean the building. Of course I would use the term, Mid-Atlantic charm.

I bow to Annie, since I didn't have my laptop on my overnight trip. Better late than never, no?

IslandGirl said...

Hey CBW, Sibleys was a great store. I loved the boxes of Jolly Ranchers that my dad use to buy me when I was a kid and we visit with him on our Saturday visits. That was our routine... he would take us to Sibleys to pick out our candy and then to lunch and back to his moms while he took a nap. The most exciting time of that day was Sibleys. If only we had places like that now.

Phyl said...

I bought my Dad a pocket knife, a small knife with pearl accent, there when I was a kid. I think it was for Father's day. I know I didn't have quite enough money for it. But Mr. Sibley and I made a deal. My Dad carried it in his pocket forever, even after it broke. I have it now. I have really fond memories of Sibley's General Store.