Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Shared Your Thoughts? Earned a Penny? Here's Where to Spend it.


On the corner of a fairly quiet street, across from both a school and a church, is an absolute throw-back to an earlier time: Auman's Grocery Store. During our trip home, we just had to stop in.

Auman's is a family-run store, open every day for 85 years (ok, half-days on holidays), and operated by Jim & Snookie Auman (who happen to be my step-dad's Uncle and Aunt).

Jim is also a old friend of Hi Guy's (my dad's dad); they go back a loooong way.

If you're heading into Auman's it's always wise to clear your calendar: Jim's a talker. But making the time to chat with him is always worthwhile...he has the most amazing stories.

Like when he and my grandfather rode their motorcycles to California (this was before the days of Interstates, people), or his exploits during World War II ( 20 successful bombing missions over Europe but he
was wounded on the 21st); his work with the Historical Society, and many other things.

Auman's, in the past, was a fairly full-service store: you could pop in, grab a quart of milk, some tomatoes, a box of trash bags, locally-produced honey, some hoagies, and of course...candy!

Not just candy...but penny candy.

I kid you not.

Auman's may be the last place on the planet still selling 1, 5, and 10-cent candies. At the very least, it's one of the last.

The Auman's are getting older, and larger stores (like that stupid Super Wal-o-Crap), are taking away most of his business.

But because they're located directly across from an elementary school, which in turn, is directly in front of a high school; well, Jim still has the aisles filled with candy.

Gum, chocolate bars, lollipops. Novelty candy. Old favorites. And he keeps the prices low so the kids can come in with their loose change, and actually buy something.

Candy for a penny!

For fun, I grabbed some ten-cent lollipops, and Cow Tails and Sixlets. It was just...so neat.

Jim's always kept the store decorated with interesting items; currently, model planes dangle from the ceiling.

You can barely make it out, but in the back is a wall of beverages, rolls and cakes and bread before that. Cards to left of the door. Not seen, but to the left of the picture, would be the household products, like glue and decks of cards, fly traps, and more.

Jim and Snookie have quite a few grandkids, which means they have a room (or two) filled with toys. They took Alex back to investigate, and he came barreling out into the store on this too-small trike!

Those coolers behind him? Ice Cream! Novelties, push-up pops, you name it. Did I mention the Community pool isn't too far from here? Neither was my house...ten-minute walk, maybe.

Love the old-style refrigerator case. I used to stop in after track practice for a Mt. Dew (back when I drank pop).

One of the reasons we stopped in, besides a chat with Jim & Snookie, was our search for locally-produced maple syrup.

I'd been getting maple syrup from Auman's for almost ten years, but the farm which used to sell it seems to have gone out of the business.

Nothing we've bought around here has compared, so I was hoping Auman's would another farm selling to him.

Fortunately, we found this. Yummy maple syrup!!

Jim mentioned that both he, and the store 'are winding down', which made me so sad, I almost cried.

The convenience of places like Target and Wal-o-Crap, unfortunately, takes a toll on the wonderful, charming, little shops like Auman's. I'm just grateful to have grown up with such a piece of history.

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2 Thoughts for food:

At 5:16 AM, Blogger Ravi said...

Stephanie, another lovely post. It was so interesting to read about the old grocery store and the old man's kind gesture of still having 1 cent candies for the kids. That bit was really touching. I esp loved the pictures which was reminiscent of the old times like the "Pepsi Cola" refrigerator.

Isn't it sad how modernisation and large scale establishments literally crush all these little things. The personal touch is lost in the big chain stores where you are just another customer but in places like these you tend to have a personal bonding and also enjoy fresh local stuff like the Maple syrup - which again, as you said, seems to loose business to the 'big guys'.

If only there were more people who think as you do to make these nice people continue the good things they do (in whatever small way) and we also carry forward that legacy to our future generations. Or else, life becomes one mechanical, heartless, money-minded routine. Isn't it?

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Ravi.

Auman's is very special to me, and yes, it's sad to think that a giant, evil coporation like Wal-o-Crap could be the reason a delightful little store like this would close down.


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