Wednesday, June 10, 2009


My grandmother lived in a tiny town in Arkansas my whole life. And when I say tiny I mean 333 people tiny. As a kid it was just a constant in my life. We may have moved every 3 years, but I could always count on my grandmother to be in the same place. One of my favorite things to do when I visited her was to walk to the general store. Steven's store. Also known as Marion Talley's. It was an old-fashioned sort of place. Wood plank floors, barrels and buckets of all sorts of items, work clothes, frozen foods, canned goods, hardware...you name it and they had it. By the time I was born it was a place that the locals went only when they needed something quick. A new Piggly Wiggly had been built in the town a few miles away, and that is where people went for their big grocery trips. I never could understand why people drove to a generic grocery store when Steven's store had everything anyone could ever need! Because I loved that place I made sure to give them some business when I came to town. I always bought one of two items when I went there. If I had enough money I bought a German chocolate cake. It was kept in their freezer and had a see-through lid. I don't remember what brand it was, but I do remember how good it tasted! I would walk back to my grandmother's house as quickly as I could so that I could have a piece before it had completely thawed. Something about a slice of that frozen cake just meant summer at Mamaw's to me. If I was short on funds I purchased a Neapolitan colored coconut bar. One of these. They were hard and chewy which I'm sure was due to the fact that they had been sitting on the shelf for a long time! I haven't had one since I was a kid. I wonder if they taste the same.

Despite my devotion Steven's store closed down around 1990. A few years later it was torn down completely. In 2002 my grandmother moved to another state to live with my aunt and her house was sold. Last April she passed away, and we took one last trip to the town where I spent many a summer vacation. Here's the post I wrote during that trip. I read it again today and those memories came flooding back again.

It's where I came from. It's part of who I am. I like that.


Amy said...

This reminds me of my childhood visits to my grandparents' in Louisiana. During the summer, my Granddad would take us out on the boat and we would go to the "coke shop" down the river. We would get to buy one coke, then make the cruise back on home to the river house. When I was little this seemed perfectly logical, but now I know it must have been less trouble to just drive to the store. It was all about the trip, not the "prize" we got.

Unknown said...

I think that was the very first (or almost) post of yours that I read. I loved you then and I love you now!

Joe @ IrrationalDad said...

It really sucks when the things that you grew up go away. My middle school (7th and 8th grades) AND my high school have both closed. I graduated in '96, but it still seems so strange to me.

It's great that you have those memories though, of those times and of your Mamaw.

Mamadallama said...

My previous comment has not shown up so I will try again.

I loved the pictures accompanying your previous post. Those and your writings reminded me of visiting my older relatives when I was young (though I come from southern Ohio.) It was always such an adventure but at the same time, so familiar. Thanks for the trip down your memory lane and my own.

Natalie said...

amy - i love those kinds of memories! thanks for sharing that. i can totally picture it!

headless mom - thanks! i love you too! even though i have been mia as far as comments go i promise i read!

joe - i know what you mean. it's funny to see fields where buildings used to be and buildings where fields used to be. everything changes i guess.

mamadallama - hm...i have no idea what happened to your last comment! i didn't get it. glad to take you back!

Andrea said...

I like to go back to the small Texas town where I was born to see my extended family. The hospital is still there-some of the eateries-the softball field. I'm amazed that things haven't changed. In a way I am thankful, but I'm sure the people who live there think it is waaay outdated. :o)