I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Local Five and Dime

When I was a young kid, we had a drugstore in our neighborhood called Biga's (Bee-ga's) that was ran by a husband and wife. I can't really remember the husband. I think he died when I was young. But Mrs. Biga carried on the family business and I'm so glad she did.

I loved that store. It had a little of everything. An L-shaped wooden display case in one corner housed all of the candy. On the opposite wall, you could find a rack full of magazines and books. I can't tell you how many comic books I bought from Biga's over the years. Next to the reading material you could find various board games and toys. In the middle of the store, you could find a freezer full of ice cream treats. And clothing was in the back. I can't remember ever going back there. I just sort of knew it was there, but a 10 or 12 year-old boy doesn't care about such things.

Every Friday, after my mom got paid, she'd give me two dollars and I'd walk to Biga's--just three blocks away from our house, and I'd buy six packs of baseball cards. At fifteen cents a pack, I still had more than a dollar left for candy or anything else that caught my fancy. Or if I really wanted to go all out, I'd buy twelve packs of baseball cards and use the left over change for "penny candy."

The display case holding the candy had a sliding door (on small rollers) that she moved back and forth as I'd point out what I wanted. I can still hear the door sliding back and forth. It made a distinct, memorable sound. And somehow it symbolized how close I was to savoring my treats while slowing going through each pack of baseball cards to see if I got the cards I needed to complete the set. If I was cutting it close on cash, Mrs. Biga would keep a running total for me.

"Six cents left."

"Okay, I'll take two more pieces of that hard candy," I said pointing to it.

She'd place it in the bag and say, "Two cents left."

My eyes roved back and forth looking for anything else that hit the magical two cent level.

"I'll take a grape pixy stick."

The store had one of those huge cash registers with gigantic buttons. Mrs. Biga would hammer the buttons and I could hear the internal parts whirring to life as it reached the grand total. The drawer would fly open, making all sorts of racket. Mrs. Biga would tell me the total, which by then we'd usually figured out manually and I'd gladly hand over my two dollars.

She thanked me and asked how my mom was doing. I was so distracted by the contents of my bag that I found it difficult to hold a lengthy conversation. I told her that mom was good and then I'd head for the door. All the way home, I'd be opening packs of baseball cards. Sometimes I was elated to finally get that all illusive card. Sometimes I was bummed out that I got mostly "doubles." But either way, by the time I got home, I was already thinking about my next visit to Biga's.

P.S. Mrs. Biga retired and sold her store many years ago. I don't think I've ever been in another store like it since.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...