Reader recalls memories of very different times

Oh yes, I remember it still. Gustkie’s Dime Store. It was a fascinating place. Marie’s and Charli’s standard reply to seekers of ornate or unusual items was always: “We’ve got it if we can find it.” So it was, say you were looking for a pipe holder or a mustache cup or perhaps ball-bearing key chain. These items are not to be found in modern chain stores. You can bet Gustkie’s could find them. They did not belong to one fits all mentality of today’s merchandising. The inventory that they purchased stayed in a store until it was sold and did not get displaced with the current fad, although new items were added as space and resources permitted.

After the Dime store closed, Marie Gustkie managed to continue her treasure trove by opening a “Memory Mall” with numerous items of yesteryear. Soon tourists found it to be a place to visit for something unique.

So it was with “Fleming Mall” and “Torch Mall,” where besides it being a local post office and filling station, they also catered to local population in need of school supplies, notions such as buttons, thread or yard goods. Though they were small in size, they managed to squeeze in an amazing amount of merchandise to meet the needs of the local population and curious tourists.

I cannot help but recall “I Met My Million Dollar Baby in a Five And Ten Cent Store.” Go Google it!

The quaint small businesses have been overtaken by The Conglomerates, which only concern themselves with bottom-line. What you see is what you may purchase. Not many extend themselves to help you locate that special item. When you fill your gas tank there is no attendant to check your oil, water, tire pressure or clean your windshield and wish you safe journey. That happened in the distant past, but memories still linger on.

Val Hoover