Posted on

Main Street

Main Street
By Joe Phillips Dear Me
Main Street
By Joe Phillips Dear Me

Bob Seger’s “Main Street” played in the juke box of my mind as the Interstate morphed into state and county roads and a few brickpaved Main Streets of small towns of my road trip.

A stroll of small towns once home to me led from door to door on Main Street.

“Dime Stores” thrived on low-priced items. A balsa glider, if it survived, cost a dime and was good for a full day. Some boys made it climb and soar but other boys (me) crashed them in seconds.

Looking like a bank building, which it was, faced with red bricks and imitation concrete columns suggested “stability” A partial sign reading “ntist” is on a second floor window opaque with dust. I wonder how long patients climbed the stairs until he moved along. Or maybe he never did.

Mr. Deroy Elder’s son, “Ben,” and I were classmates. Mr. Elder owned and operated a local shoe repair shop. He and his wife, Dorothy, died two months apart.

Only one telephone operator worked on the second floor of “Miller’s Dry GoodsStore.” Standing in front of M. G. Richardson’s store, I wonder at the young women who looked out of the window to watch the action on the street,

page 10A continued from page

when there was action.

Trains stopped running decades ago followed by bus lines until they permanently parked..

“Phil and Mil’s” cafe’ caught traveling traffic and visits by locals. There is nothing there, as gone as if it never existed.

Holding a picture of the cafe’, I try to place it exactly. The picture was taken on a day when spring was bringing renewal to all but the cafe’.

The “Sanitary Barber Shop” very likely was, but boys dreaded the place because Mr. Carter grabbed a boy’s head like a soft ball and held it in place while the clippers hummed on.

The independent gas station was replaced by a convenience store selling fuel. The doctor who delivered half the town retired and was not replaced. A Nurse Practitioner sees nonemergency patients and the small hospital closed.

There is one locally owned grocery store. Others were squeezed shut in favor of a big box store twenty miles away and the low-profit remains are picked over by a dollar type store.

The obdurate lumber yard hangs on while locals shop for building materials forty miles away. The county and city rarely uses local contractors. They could. They should.

Shopping local is the key to keeping a viable business community. Sometimes as few as a dozen shoppers makes the difference in whether a business operates at a profit or loss on any particular day. The brick chimney will continue to lean, grass growing in the sidewalk cracks and mortar drying and blowing from between bricks.

Gone are the pool rooms, soft drink bottlers, drug stores, small shops, retired men sitting on benches. My father called them “sidewalk superintendents.” They are gone also.

Recent Death Notices