Friday, September 25, 2015

Vanished neighborhood storefronts of Pawtucket

Every day walking and driving around  in Pawtucket, I am swept  by a feeling of both strangeness and  familiarity that takes me by surprise.  Something is missing in a  long-known place.  More often than  not I am looking at a  building that once housed a store  and now it is  all  gone or  it is obliterated and seems to have disappeared into an entrance to an apartment.  In my old childhood  locale I look for  places  that are no longer there.  Just to name a few--at the corner of Pond Street and Prospect St. there is a vacant lot where once there  was a drug store,  Another favorite drugstore  has also been razed  at the corner of Summit Street and Division Street. This was a  dear place because it had a  cool and welcoming soda  fountain and  a friendly   soda jerk who would flavor cokes to order with cherry or vanilla flavoring.  Also he  dispensed strawberry and root beer  floats.  The  floors were tile and the overhead fans created a cool oasis on a hot summer day. Now there is nothing there but a small fenced lot.  Right next door on Summit  Street there was a cleaners --I think it was  called Keenan's--now it seems to be a  church. Division Street still has many stores but no where can I  find the cobblers. The tavern at the corner of Brewster and Division  is there  but it  looks different and it is no longer called  FORD's.  Most missed is the  small grocery store that sat  on the corner of Meadow Street and  Brewster Street. Because  we did all of our grocery shopping there we  went  most days to that store   which was  owned and managed by Modesto "Mike" and his wife Helen.  I miss it and think of them both every time I drive  by the building that  still stands there but is not  a storefront.   Also I was a daily visitor to a store that was close to my school then called Saint Joseph's now  it is part of Saint Raphael's Academy  and   takes up the corner of  North Bend and Walcott.  There were two stores across the   road--one was a grocery  store and I think it was called McCormicks.  The other right on the corner was  more like a drugstore.  Now there are no stores, but I can see where they once were in the  buildings.  When I see the students from Saint Rays  changing classes I wonder where  do they go when they  want and need a quick coke or a candy bar or a  wonderful salty pickle from the barrel in Mc Cormicks.  That is what we used our milk money for --what  do  the students today do with their milk money.Do they actually buy milk with it?
 No treats, no adventures no forays into small cool, dark places on their ways   back and  forth.

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