Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Shop in the Morning


I was recently talking with someone about walking to school. Occasionally my mother would drive me to school, but most of the time I walked. She hated that I had to cross over rail road tracks on my way to grammar school. I would have had to walk an extra mile or so to go under a trestle, so I was just extra careful. She put up with that for years.

When I went to high school it was easier to walk into town and walk under the trestle. I also would meet up with my walking mate, Laura. We would meet at a small coffee/tobacco/candy/soda/magazine shop in my home town. Commuters would stop in and get a cup of “Regular” and a morning newspaper before catching their train to New York. We would get something to go as well.

Writing about the smell of coffee the other day reinforced this memory because when we walked in this shop we were enveloped with the smell of coffee, candy, magazine and newspaper print and tobacco. Those of you who have ever visited the former Chris’s News in Astoria know the scent that I’m talking about.

With candy now entombed in plastic wrapping, tobacco use on the decline, newspaper and magazines sales down and coffee dispensed from pump pots; the next generation may never know the scents of which I am writing.

5 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

I miss those coffee shops, too - and drinking coffee out of those thick mugs. Cardboard just isn't the same...

5:44 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

It's those smells that got me going on the two greatest monkeys on my back. Coffee and tobacco. Add books to that and I would never leave the store. You'd have to drag me out by my earlobes.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

That smell used to permeate clothes....the smell of pipe tobacco and coffee is soothing.

10:42 AM  
Blogger g said...

I too walked to school - from 1st grade until 7th grade. I went to Central School (in the middle of Astoria) that was torn down many years ago.

My fondest memories involved Peter Pan grocery and a kids hangout called Clark's that closed many years ago.

Then there was taking the shortcut (trail to middle school) and running like hell to avoid the stoners who would harass us every time.

They would all hang out in the woods and smoke dope. One Saturday a buddy and me took a turd on one of the logs they would sit on.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

Oh, Guy, I was just thinking this last night. Auntie gave me this wooden secretary from around the 40s or so and last night, when I went to go put away my iPod cable, it belched up just a slight whiff of old cigarette smoke. That smell, whether the health community likes it or not, is inextricably woven into my most pleasant memories. Often intermingled with coffee and toast since, when we would visit my grandparents' home in Paradise, that was the smell of the breakfast kitchen. There would be a double-hung window propped open, letting in the cool summer morning air along with the scents of the peach orchard next door.

2:49 PM  

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