Columns

2017.08.16 The Dime Store

By DAVID GREEN

I visited Morenci’s old “Dime Store” Saturday to take a look at some remnants from the past. The building has been sold and the new owner wants everything out.

Whoa! That’s a tall order. Owners Ray and Cheryl Cowgill are starting off with an auction Aug. 26 in hopes of clearing out some of what’s left.

I spent a lot of time there, generally making a bee-line to the back into the toy section, and then as I got older to look through the model planes and boats.

There were certainly other needs through the years and I still have a memory of being caught by Nellie June Gardiner in the women’s clothing section.

There was a legitimate reason—I needed to buy a present for my mother—but I felt as though I was out of place and shouldn’t be there.

I sent out a call for recollections of the store and I will list a few here.

Teresa Schmidt Eller: Yes, as a kid the creaky floor. They always knew when you left the toy department and we my to the hardware section…by the squeaky floor. Also, remember the old shoe section.

Jo Linda Cutler: I remember how cool the wood floors were on hot bare feet before you had to wear shoes. The glass display cases offered penny candy and decisions to make when you got a few pieces of loose change.

Sandy Marine: I remember helping my grandpa "Bud Allion" in the yard and earning 50 cents and getting so excited to ride my banana seat bicycle to the 5 and dime to buy a pack of Hubba Bubbu and two Charleston Chews and would get change back. I would make that 5 pack of bubble gum last all week!

Sarah Dierkens Jacobs: That place started my favorite kind of candy: swedish fish!

Ron Apger My biggest memory of the dime store was its tell-tale creaky floor. It made certain creaky sounds when you were in different areas. The Winzelers always knew when a kid went into the back toy area because of how the floor sounded.

Renee Allen Schroeder: As a child I always headed to the toy section in the back! I don't remember when the dime store closed but I recall buying cute little Buster Brown clothes there for our son Trent.

Laura Spencer: We took dance lessons at the community center. When we finished, we went to the dime store and we're allowed to pick out a piece of candy from the candy counter. I always chose a maple nut cluster.

Heidi Barnes Aldridge: Baseball cards with hard gum!! Making the poor clerk count out 100 pieces of candy, and spending my childhood savings on craft supplies.

Lisa Borton Stambaugh: Definitely the creaky floor! The variety of candy in the glass counter at the front if the store. The angora yarn the girls wrapped their boyfriends class rings so they would fit on their finger was kept under the counter at the register.

Cheryl Clymer Lynch: I bought my first 45 there, Rainy Days and Mondays, by The Carpenters. Took it home and played and decided I didn't like it. Took it back up and asked to exchange it because I didn't liked it. The cashier gave me a funny look but let me exchange it. I got Janis Joplin Me and Bobby McGee. I know all the words by heart to this day.

Marsha Hall Schuster: I can remember my mom sending me up there to buy the basic black bathing suit to wear to Bean Creek. Straight shot down the aisle from sewing goods, real close to the changing room. 

Linda Hauter Arno: I worked there for a couple of years in the late 60s. During slow times I would brown paper wrap the sanitary napkins boxes before they were placed on the shelves for sale, with price hand printed on the side. The Gardiners liked me working the counter, the money drawers balanced every time I worked, so I was allowed to eat any candy, in the bulk bins, I wanted at no charge. My starting pay was 50 cents per hour. They were great people.

Back to DG: I enjoyed my look at the past last weekend, but the most amazing thing occurred after Cheryl Cowgill asked if I had looked at the bricks outside.

How many times have I walked that alleyway and never noticed the writing and carving? There are signatures from the late 1800s!

Some were carved with a pocketknife, but the hand-written graffiti from 120 years is astounding.

Go out and take a look. My conclusion: They don’t make pencils like they did in the old days.