Waiting For The Rolling Store

Lura Zerick

Lura Zerick

When we were young, my youngest brother and I always looked forward to Wednesday. THAT was the day the ‘rolling store’ came by. This truck, filled with basic groceries and other items, stopped at each farmhouse on its’ route to offer their wares to the housewife who seldom went to ‘town’, 15 miles away.

Seems like yesterday that Mr. Clemmons came around his truck to ask my Mama what she might need. There were no refrigerated items, but he had a wide selection of foods in bags or packages….even a small choice of candies. Mama liked those ‘circus peanuts’ so we hoped she would get a few. Occasionally we were given a penny or a nickel to spend. That was great; we could get five chocolate kisses for one penny – or a candy bar for five cents. That was such a privilege then! I never had $5 until I was graduating from high school (1947) and that fiver was from the school for helping ‘run’ the school store at noon. Stupid me; I gave it to my father to ‘hold’ for me and I had a difficult time in getting it back! My father’s motto (and he said it often) was “A fool and his money are soon parted.”  He didn’t part with much very often. I remember how he complained that my graduation ring cost $12.00; I would have thought he would be proud of having another daughter graduate from high school. I had entered 12th grade at age 15, two years younger than my classmates. Because I was allowed to start school at age 4. I loved school.

I was old enough, however, to appreciate the rolling store! It is amazing now to remember how excited we were on Wednesdays! We seldom got items from any store but we lived in hope.

Mama bought basic items, such as sugar, flour, baking powder or soda, maybe material to make a dress for one of us. Every mama knew how to sew. This was a life-saver for daughters; we were much older when we  got a ‘store-bought’ dresses. My graduation dress was probably my first.

I was not allowed to date – though I felt that at 16 I should. I didn’t know what a “wild child” was. Actually, I was book-smart but life-dumb. I wanted to go to college but my father was sure that daughters would get married and have a family. So what did I do to escape this strict father? I married that boy I had met at age 12, when I entered the 9th grade; that graduation dress became my wedding dress. Just to share where my priorities were, my new husband  was the cutest boy in school.

So I became a wife. A school board member in his county told me that if I would go to summer school, he would see that I got a job teaching first graders the following school term….at age 16.  I didn’t; at that time I hadn’t learned how to ‘speak up’ for myself.

Life went on but I never forgot the excitement of the ‘rolling store’. Kids today might laugh at that idea but back then there were no ‘malls’ to drift through. Truth is, at age 84, I don’t drift through very many now either!!!


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