Tuesday, November 12, 2013

More Memories

Posting last Friday about growing up in Robbins in the 1950's really got my emotions stirred up.  I went to bed thinking about my childhood and at 3:00 Saturday morning was wide awake trying to remember every detail of all the stores in downtown Robbins...knowing I had a wedding to attend in New Bern later in the day.

Walking the sidewalks to town on Saturday with twenty five cents allowance in my pocket was my excitement...except for my dolls!

Leaving our house I walked down the hill past the mill then crossed the street to get on the sidewalk.  The sidewalk carried me past houses all the way up to Haithcock's store.  Many times I spent my twenty cents lunch money in Haithcock's buying packs of Kool aid.  I liked to pour the Kool aid in my hand and eat it by sticking my tongue to the tart powder.  Across the street from Haithcock's was Robbins Grammar School and next to Haithcock's was Mr. Brady's house, Principal of the school.   Mrs. Brady was my fifth grade teacher and their daughter, Mary Ann was in my grade.

The grammer school was on the corner, so at this point I crossed the street and continued on to town past the tall brick Methodist church on my left.  I have memories of mama going up those brick steps to church one Sunday morning...tall and slim and beautiful, with her short, dark hair, wearing a fitted red suit with a fur collar.  She wore black high heel shoes and a dressy red hat that had a black feather on the side. 

  Seems like then I passed a small cafe and a service station and then Parks grocery store.  Mr. Parks, his wife, and their teenage son worked there.  I remember the white aprons they wore and Mr. Parks was the butcher.

Next was a drug store...the one that gave you a free ice cream soda....if you had a slip of paper written by Dr. Vanore, because he had given you a shot!!!  This also was the drug store where Shelby carried the film to get her pictures developed.  Shelby had a camera, her very own camera!  Wish there were more of her pictures from the 1950's!

I may be wrong about the exact order of the stores, but Dr. Alexander's office, Kinlaw's Cleaners,  and Ray's clothing store was somewhere along there.  Mama went to Ray's when we needed nice clothes for special occasions.   Like our trip to Charlottesville, Virginia.  Daddy got a job offer there and was invited up for the weekend.  He took the family and what a special trip this was!  We all got new outfits and the drive through the mountains to Charlottesville was exciting.  We stopped along the way to look at the sights.  Shelby took pictures of course.   My new dress with the black velvet tie belt, came from Ray's.

We stayed in a hotel in Charlottesville.  At least I think it was a hotel...I remember the lovely mahogany bed and dresser in a small room, and the white bedspread.  The room had a long window with a view of downtown, which impressed me so because of the steep hills, the streets, and the shops on either side of the street .  Mama and us children waited in the room for Daddy.  Oh, and how vividly I remember the beautiful hotel dining room where we had dinner that evening.  So many many beautiful tables with white linen cloths and large folded napkins.  Men waiters with trays.  Beautiful silverware and crystal glasses.   Funny, I remember when our dinner was served, the first thing Jackie ate from his plate was the Parsley...and mama telling him he should not have done that...that the green leaves were to make the plate pretty!  I probably ate my parsley too!  I always managed to do something embarrassing!  Then Jackie wanted ice cream with a cherry on top...which Daddy asked the waiter to bring !!!

Back to Robbins...rounding the corner...to Lee's dime store with all the wooden bins.  I loved Lee's!  Lee's is where I bought my first little blue metal tube of lipstick for fifteen cents.  The main attraction in Lee's was the candy counter in the center front part of the store.  You could buy a scoop of warm roasted nuts for a nickle.  I can still smell those roasted nuts.  The nuts turned slowly on a tray under a light which lent a red glow to the counter.  

On down the street was the theater where I got into trouble with daddy one Saturday for sitting through the movie, Cinderella too many times...not realizing night time had come upon us.  I remember the night all of us, the whole family went to see the movie, "Joan of Arc".  It was good, but the cartoon was great.  Jackie and I begged daddy to stay a little longer to see if they were going to show another cartoon.  Seems like those news reels took forever...but the cartoon was short!

Down a ways, and maybe the last store on that side of the street  was Cheeks Western Auto.  On second thought, seems like Dr. Vanore and Dr. Brady both had offices along there...with blinds in the windows!  I have never liked blinds!  Western Auto was the store where I bought my roller skates...the kind you wore over your shoes and tightened with a key. 

There was something wrong with those skates... I don't remember exactly what, but daddy told me to carry the skates back and tell Mr. Cheek.  As bashful as I was, I walked to town, walked into Western Auto, found Mr. Cheek and told him about my skates.  He looked at the skates and said to me in a voice that sounded to me like a storm overhead, "I can't take these back.  You have already worn them.  The wheels are scuffed up".  I said a little tiny voice okay  and walked the three miles back to the front of the store.  It took a while for me to recover from this...I didn't like the Cheeks anymore,  any of them  (this was a 10 year old Henny Penny. All is forgotten now).  However, a small incident a few days later in the school library helped me a little.  All was quiet in the library.  Hal Cheek, Mr. Cheek's son was leaning back in his chair...one of those heavy stocky square yellowish colored wood chairs that fits under those library tables...well the legs slipped and he fell over backwards.  I hope he wasn't too embarrassed.

Next, crossing the railroad tracks, which I never had reason to go that far, was Kennedy's Funeral Home, then up on the hill, Elise High School.  Crossing the street and walking to town on the other side was Muse's store.  They sold clothes and fabric.  That's where mama bought the green plaid fabric for me.  I was supposed to make a jumper in "Home Economics" class.  I have no memory of a jumper!

Then the Post Office...where we always dreaded daddy stopping to pick up the mail.  Especially if we had all been somewhere and were in the car together.  Without fail, daddy would run up with someone he knew and would talk and talk and talk, while we waited and waited and waited!

Next was another drug store.  Cheek's shoe store was along there too.  Mr. Cheek's daughter worked there and she had the longest fingernail on one of her her little fingers that I had ever seen on anyone!  A really pretty fingernail.  I always wanted to ask her about it!  

Oh my....then there was the hardware store!  I believe the owner of this store was the Mayor of Robbins at that time.  This hardware store is where we bought our little colored biddies for Easter.  We each had our own baby chick to feed and care for, and watch grow up.  They had all colors, red, green, blue, purple...poor chicks!  It's good that stores can no longer do these things.  How many of those chicks were carried home by children who let them starve or die from the cold, or be killed by a cat. 

Again, a few of my memories.  If I have posted any wrong information, or have offended anyone by anything I have written in this post, I truly apologize and will remove it from this blog.  I love Robbins and the people who live there.  I would love to go back and live my childhood all over again.

Henny Penny



  1. Oh, Henny, that is a beautiful post. I was walking right along with you, and recalling some of the same kind of memories from back in my girlhood. Do remember Tangee lipstick? It was the only kind I was allowed to wear when I was about 12, but it was sort of a funny orange color in the tube, and was supposed to turn your own personal pale natural shade on your lips. On me it turned a dark rose, and my Mom was sure that I had used a lipstick from someone else to look more grown up! It smelled citrusy, and I really can recall the scent.
    Thank you for taking us on a delightful tour of Robbins!
    All the best,

    1. Dear Pam, I appreciate that. I do remember Tangee lipstick but I don't remember that about it changing colors. It's funny how some things you never forget, even the smallest detail. I don't think my first fifteen cents tube had a name. :) Pam, I think we have a lot of the same kind of memories and could probably spend a day talking about them...that would be fun. Love, Henny

  2. Great memories, I bet the local Historical Museum would like your reflections of Robbins:)

    1. Thanks for the comment. It would probably be the most info the museum has on Robbins! I got a little carried away! :)

  3. Oh I love your post about Robbins and your childhood. I can just picture my daddy eating the parsley off the plate first. He always loved ice cream to. He loved to scoop ice cream in a glass and pour coke over it. He also loved popcorn. My children have his love for popcorn. They eat popcorn every day. I love you! Vicki

    1. Hey Vicki, I worried about posting all that about Robbins. I got a little carried away and talked too much! Hope I didn't bore everybody so much they won't come back. I almost deleted that entire post! Thank you for your comment! I love you too! Aunt Melba


I love hearing from you. Thank you for your comment.