This page, WRITE TO A PICTURE, is an invitation to our regular writers and to our visitors. Send an original poem, a story, or your recollections. Share your thoughts and experiences with those who like to READ what others write. Send to me at

 Early 'Write To A Picture' pages are archived. The links are here:

Beach Scene "1" Old Train Station "2"
The Carousel "3" The Fifties "4"
Summer Picnic "5" From The Heart "6"
Cloudy Moon "7" September Morn "8"
Passing The Time "9" Apples "10"
Rain "11" Pumpkins "12"
Halloween "13" Big City "14"
Remembrance Day "15" Autumn Harvest "16"
A Cozy Nook "17" Migration "18"
The Kitchen On Memory Lane "19" Holding Hands "20"
Indoor Gardening "21" Playing In The Snow "22"
Bonding With Children "23" Old House "24"
The General Store "25" Friends and Friendships "26"


The General Store

By Marilyn (

Before we had supermarkets, we had the general store. Or we had the store on the corner. These were generally stores with a single owner and it was from the stores that we bought our food supplies. For those who lived in a town, there might be a butcher shop, a bakery, and a hardware store. For those who lived in a rural area, the general store supplied the meats, the bakery products, and the hardware.

My grandfather owned and operated a general store and since my family lived just four miles away, we visited often. The candy case was my main interest, of course, but I also got to know most of my grandfather's customers.

There was a pot-bellied stove, and there were benches for the men who came every evening to swap tales and share the local news.

What about the general store in your community, or in your town? What do you remember? I remember shelves of broadcloth, and notions for the women who sewed. I also remember the shelves of canned goods and the rack of brooms my grandfather sold. Fiction or fact, we look forward to your entry.


The General Store

Sharon (

Traveling a back road from Escondido California, to Julian is quite an adventure. The road curves around steep and rocky drop offs. But the trip is well worth it. You pass orange groves, and wild lilac. It is beautiful. Part way to Julian is a little community called San Isabel, with a few interesting stores. There is a general store, Julian pie company, and Dudley's bakery. The general store is designed in an old fashioned way.

Most people stop in for Dudley's bread. Nothing tastes better than warm raisin date bread, or cheese jalapeno bread. Dudley's has fruit laden cookies, and other interesting baked goods. You can get a cup of coffee and sit at a small table to enjoy it. If you are sneaky enough, you can pass by their counter and nibble on free samples. Since the bakery is always crowded with customers, sneaking free samples isn't all that hard to do.

And of course, you cannot pass up Julian pie company. It has the best apple pie anyone could ever want. It used to be that it was located in Julian, but they needed a bigger place to bake and sell pies, and moved to San Isabel. The community is very tiny, but tour buses have brought people from all over California to both Dudley's and the pie company. And of course, everyone ventures into the general store. The trip is well worth the drive. The scenery on the way is very pretty.


The General Store

Swampetta (

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker
Got together and bought a nice place.
Three brothers and now they shared
A really lovely space.

The butcher had some chickens,
The baker made some bread,
The other guy changed his job,
And sold milk instead.

Over time they added things.
Candy and hardware too.
Vegetables and fruit of all kinds.
A very happy crew.

The beef was the best you could get,
Cakes and pies were ever so sweet,
Once they added work shoes,
Had you from head to feet.

They had almost everything you would ever want.
But one day business slowed.
It took a while to figure out,
There was a new Wal-Mart up the road.


The General Store

Bob (

I remember a general store. I grew up in a small city that had grocery stores and hardware stores and gasoline stations, and until the day, while on a road trip, I stepped into a small general store, I thought every store had to be a different type; much as the man who grew up with an English speaking father, a German speaking mother, and a French governess thought, until he was five, that everyone spoke a different language!

I was amazed and delighted at the variety of products on sale in that little shop. I think, at the time, it gave me the "ambition" (albeit temporary) to become a manager of a store that would be akin to our present day supermarkets. I thought that would be the greatest occupation to have, to be able to plan a layout for such a place, and organize the items for sale. I have always loved organizing and working with the concept "a place for everything, and everything in its place" - and to be IN CHARGE of that sounded like the most enjoyable thing a person could do!

At that tender age, I KNEW that everyone was friendly, and I enjoyed seeing and greeting people, and it made perfect sense to me that my days in such work would be filled with seeing friends all day and helping them, and make a living in the process.

I think, even at this advanced age and decrepitude, I would love doing that kind of work. I sort of have my own "general store" in my home office, with a very eclectic collection of things which I am constantly organizing, or at least playing an organizing game with, and it is still fun to do. It's nice to have places to put, and it's nice putting!


The General Store

Amy (

oh those memories of the olde general store
penny candy, washboards and more
the magazine called good ole days
we would all just be in a daze
looking at things that were on sale
a new bonnett, or a galvanized pail
pa would want some new tool
and sis, why she would act the fool
mom, hmm, guess that she just drooled ..
those good ole days are long gone
but the memories i have are still real strong..


The General Store

Jeanie (








Stores In General

susi (

Funny how a store, big or small, can have an effect on your life. I remember when I was just three, my mom and dad owned a fruit market right on Saginaw Street, the main street in Flint, Michigan. All of the parades started at 8th street and we were just one block from there and we would climb out on the roof of the porch, my two brothers and two sisters and watch the parade from there. Mom and dad just stood in the doorway and watched, the store being on a rise. We lived in a house that was attached and we could just go right from the livingroom into the back of the store. There was a kind of large cement step down into it, and being only three, I was kind of clumsy and I dropped a large bottle of milk on it and broke it. I was scolded and kissed. But I have never liked milk since then. We moved out to Burton from the store, altho not to the house where I live now, but a big house that we rented. There was, just a block away, a general store called Trottiers. I used to go there all the time if I had a penny 'cause you could get an enormous amount of candy for a penny, and like Marilyn, that is about all that I remember about that store. Oh yes, and the bread. Then after about five years there, we moved again to this house. There was a large supermarket called Hamady's three blocks away on the corner of Saginaw St and Bristol Road. My mom used to take us kids there with her to do the Saturday shopping. I had my very first bag of Frito Corn Chips in that store. Mama would buy us one to keep our hands busy and our mouths shut except for eating them. I loved that store. And the smells of it. Each different departments had its very own scent. The fruit in the produce section, the cheeses in the dairy aisle, the smell of all the different meats on the back aisle, and then there were the breads, oooooh, such mouthwatering smells came from there. The Hamady stores closed up in the '80's and I cried. An era had passed. Stores in general, I think, are wonderful, magical places. I even love the smells in a hardware store. I remember all the stores of my childhood. Such great memories of a different time.


The General Store

Connie (

When I was about 6 and living in this one horse town, we had just such a store -- maybe not quite as big as this one. We were so dreadfully poor, but one time, Mother had asked me to get the cows in and she would give me a penny. They were way out in the field, but on my way I was thinking of what that penny could buy me. At this little store, gum came 5 sticks to a package, and the owner would open the package and sell you one stick which cost 1 penny for each stick.

So out in the field I went to gather the cows, and in doing so, I picked up a small stick to herd them with, but in looking down I saw a hugh spider had clung to the stick --- which immediately ended my gathering of the cows. Ran back home without them, but my sweet Mother gave me the penny for my efforts, and when we were able to get into town, I bought that 'one' stick of gum which I chewed and chewed for weeks at a time, setting it up at night only to be chewed again the next day.

It's surprising how a piece of gum can make a person so happy. If the kids of today could only appreciate the little things in life. Now, a piece of gum would mean nothing to them ---- but it certainly meant something to me!


"Foggy Hollow General Store"

Mary Carter Mizrany (

Sundries n eats,
ummmmmmm candy galore . . .
so much can be found at
Foggy Hollow General Store ~

Coffee's always on sale
to drink and to buy . . .
grab a seat near potbelly
for a chat or a cry ~

A favorite gathering place
say, what'll ya have . . .
ribbons or patterns ~ ammunition?
are ya brave? ~

Children sure ta pick
comics ~ huge pickles ~ dill or sweet . . .
for ma there are bonnets
store~bought dress~ whata treat ~

There's shovels n spades
buckets ~ pans n pots . . .
look at them chaps, dude,
gosh ain't there lots n lots? ~

Whatever ya'll ur needin'
ya can find that n more . . .
a good time to be had at
Foggy Hollow General Store!


General Store

Norma (

The old general store
Had needles and pins
An old round stove,
To meet with your friends.

Out in the front
Was a watering trough,
Where horses neighed
While their riders bought.

Behind a counter
Was Cody, a fat man,
Cheeks red and smiley
And plump old rough hands.

The old wood floor creaked,
When boots walked around,
Ladies high topped leathers
Made hardly a sound.

Most everyone loved the pickle barrel,
Crackers, lye soap and talk,
News and gossip exchanged in abundance
Oh, yes, don’t forget log cabin caulk.

Cody knew everybody
What provisions their families needed
He’d carry their bills on his tablet
Long after crops had been seeded.

Flour and sugar and salt
And chicken, gravel and feed,
Piece goods, licorice and ham,
All in this world that you’d need.


The General Store

Lilly (




The Country Store

By Tom (

“Joseph, your cousins Mary and JB are coming for most of the summer so I want you to be nice to them and introduce them to all of your friends,” Mrs. Jones said to her son. “And Joseph,” (she only called Joe by his given name when she was serious), “I know they do not know about catching crawdads, or fishing or climbing every tree on the place. Just remember how you will feel and act when you go visit them.”

“Aw mom,” Joe said. He knew she was laying down the law. They are city kids; they don’t go barefoot, they won’t go in the creek without a swim suit.” Then he stopped. “OK Mom, I promise. But only if I do not have to go to the city and visit them.” With that he grabbed two cookies and ran outside.

Saturday after lunch the family piled into the car and headed into town, not the store but into the town of Tanner, to the train station. Mrs. Jones had killed two fryers and had made potato salad; heck she had even made a pitcher of Kool Aid. Joe was ten while Cousin Mary was nine and JB was nearly ten; but Joe was taller and more robust. The train arrived and the two got off, Mary on the plump side and JB just a thin boy who was a little taller than Joe.

After supper there was a game of Chinese checkers and they all turned in for Sunday morning was Sunday school and church. As they drove up to the church Mary said, “That is a small church, we have a large pretty church.”

JB replied, “Yes, but these are country people, they do not have all of the nice things we have in the city.” When they came out of Sunday School Joe was shaking his head for the two knew all of the Bible answers and they knew the words to all of the songs; Joe figured it would be a long miserable summer.

When they arrived back home Mrs. Jones said, “Children put on your old play clothes, dinner will be at two or there abouts.” She then looked at her son. “Joe take them out and show them the stock, the barns and sheds.” Joe ran to his room and was back in a flash, barefoot with a pair of old holey jeans and no shirt. Mary came down in a fancy dress while JB had on slacks and a button shirt; Joe wondered if they heard his mom or not for they were dressed to go to school or to town.

“C’mon,” Joe said as he tore out the back door at a dead run with the two following him. Everything except for the animals of course in the city it was better or they did not have such things for they got theirs from the store. Joe found Billy, their old goat and decided to have some fun and play toreador with Billy. He took an old feed sack and Billy would charge then Baa at him three or four times then he went back to what he was doing. “Want to try JB?” When they went in the house for Sunday dinner both Mary and JB looked like they had been in the hog pen; they were both tired and smiling.

Mrs. Jones saw the three, “Ok outside and wash up for dinner,” she said as Joe headed for the water tank and the spray nozzle on it. When they returned there on the back porch were two pairs of clean jeans and a larger pair for Mary with a shirt and a shimmy shirt. “Tomorrow you two will have to go to the store and get some play clothes.”

The rest of the afternoon until supper time was spent playing croquet because three other families came visiting and this time Joe made sure his two cousins did not get all muddy and messy.

Joe was up at six thirty but his cousins did not get up until nearly nine, “Gosh you city folks sleep all day,” Joe noted.

At breakfast Mrs. Jones told Joe, “I want you to hitch up the trap and take JB and Mary to the store to get some play clothes, give Mrs. Merchant this note,” she said as she pinned the note inside Joe’s shirt pocket.

It was three miles to the store, not any store but a country store, a real country store. It sat at the intersection of two paved roads and was the only store within a ten mile radius.

Joe went to the pasture carrying two carrots. “Sally, Sally Goodin,” he yelled. He also whistled. When he got to the barn there stood the horse. “C’mon gal, we are going to the store in the trap to get JB and Mary some play clothes.” He looked around. “He hee, I got a nickel and going to get me some peppermint sticks.” He got his box and harnessed the horse. Joe led Sally Goodin to the watering trough. “Betty drink girl for it is quite a spell to the store and back.”

As they drove along JB and Mary were all excited. “Can I drive Joe, can I?” JB asked.

“Sure JB, but Sally don’t need to be driven, she will go down to the hard surfaced road then stop and I will lead her across the road and we will go along the fence to the store. Mom and dad don’t want us on the highway.”

“That doesn’t look like much of a store, that is a run down old shanty, no big signs, what kind of store is it anyway?” Mary asked as her words were echoed by her brother.

“This here is a neat store Mrs. B runs it, heck no, it isn’t the big store in town but it is our country store out here at the cross roads,” Joe replied. Joe drove around on the shady side of the store where there was grass and weeds for Sally Goodin to eat.

As they entered an older woman in big old black shoes and a white apron smiled. “Hello Joe, this must be your two cousins Mary and JB,” she said. She went to the candy case and gave each of them a stick of peppermint candy. The old lady bent over, “Guess the note is in this pocket ain’t it?” She took the note and the safety pin and read it, “You two need two shirts and two pairs of overalls and a pair of summer tennis shoes,” she said as she looked at them.

Mary stood with her nose in the air looking around as JB wandered off to one side of the store. “Rope, chain, nails. My goodness this place has a lot of stuff,” JB said.

“Joe, show your cousin around while I get Miss Mary fixed up,” Mrs. B said.

“What are these for?” JB asked Joe as he stopped by the barrels of beans and picked up some.

“They are beans. We buy beans by the big sack and we also plant them in the garden to raise our own,” Joe replied.

“But aren’t these horse shoes?” JB then asked.

“Sure dad says Mrs. B isn’t cheaper but she is local and saves him going to five or six other places to get what he wants,” Joe replied as they walked over to the candy counter. Well not a counter but a small oak framed glass enclosure that was filled with penny candy. “The nickel bars are there behind the counter,” Joe added as they wandered about.

“Boys, JB your turn,” Mrs. B hollered as Mary came walking out from the back room in a new pair of jeans and a blue chambray shirt plus a pair of black and white boy’s tennis shoes.

Joe stood at the candy counter trying to decide if he should buy his favorite peppermint sticks or buy some Kits and one of those little wax bottles with sweet syrup in it. When Mrs. B returned to the front he just took the five peppermint sticks. Of course Mrs. B put them in a little one pound bag because she knew Joe would save one for his mother and one for his father. She figured out the bill, wrote it on the charge book and then wrote on a piece of paper and pinned it to Joe’s shirt. “Now get out of here you three, those new jeans need to be worn and gotten wet so they will look OK,” she said.

JB did not change, preferring his city clothes to jeans, tennis shoes and a shirt. “These look so hickish,” he said, and Joe said nothing. “Only yokels would wear clothes like these. Mary, you look like a blue toad,” he said. Joe had heard enough.

Joe spun, dropping the reins and drove his shoulder into JB‘s chest as they both tumbled out of he trap. When they hit, well when JB who was on the bottom hit, he went, “Ooooof,” and Joe started swinging,

“I live in the country and I am not a hick and I am not a yokel, you city sissy,” he said as he pummeled his cousin. “Take it back, take it back,” he yelled.

When they got home JB’s face did not look good for he had a black eye, bloody nose and a split lip. Needless to say after that altercation the three bonded and even Mary went skinny dipping with them and when it was time for them to return home Mary and JB were tan, trim and happy. “When you coming to visit us city dudes?" JB asked as he boarded the train for home?


General Store

By Barbara (

I rode up beside my granddad as Maude pulled the wagon. She was a good ole horse. Granddad called me, "Princess Elizabeth" because back then she was still a princess.

I always wore a bonnet because I had an allergy on my head, and until I was 3, I had very little hair. Grandma would buy the bonnets and when we were in the car, I would throw them bonnets out.

But back to Mom's side of the family. They were a great big family and lived on a farm. Can't have a community of farmers without a general store. On this special weekend I was permitted to ride to the general store with grand dad and Maude. I loved the aroma, the pickle barrels. The tobacco was in the wood of the old store, candy smells, and cured country hams hung all in a row. Stuff was spread on the floor. It was green and had a smell all its own.

It was a great place to me, so much to take in. Then granddad said I could get a penny bag of candy. So hard to pick, so much to decide, and I was sure a penny was a lot of money.

Off to the sides hung sticky fly paper. Not at all like The A&P where my other grandma shopped. It took me longer to pick my candy then it took Granddad to do his essentials shopping. Essentials included all that he couldn't grow or barter for. Things like sugar and tobacco, spices, too. And yard goods, for Grandmother to make her magic.

Both my grandmas and great-grandmas were magicians in the kitchen. The table in the kitchen at the farm was huge and lots of folks have had many a good meal there. Granddad bought grandma an apron, one like the man at the general store wore.

In the middle of the store was a pot-belly stove, and a checker board all set up to play. Odd chairs sat about and a pot of coffee brewing on the stove. Lots of barrels near the register, white flour, buckwheat flour, corn meal, big old pickles, coffee beans and stuff I never got to look into.

Up onto the bench seat with my bag of candy tightly held I sat straight up because after all I was the Princess. Granddad would give a little knowing smile every time he called me Princess. When I was 7, Granddad went to sleep and woke in Heaven. A couple of the little ones slept with him that night. My Daddy came in the early light of dawn picked me up in his loving arms and put me in bed with my aunt.

By the time I woke the deacons and elders and sisters from the church had arrived with more food. In those days no one went with out food. Food was what held us all together, not that they had more than any one else. It was a show of love.

To stay up all night to bake for the poor neighbors, they have so many out of towners coming in too. As they arrive women went about the house as if they were family. The folks, family, and guests, many slept in any place they were comfortable. I heard them say he died in his sleep? But then I heard them say he would be brought home soon? Sounds odd to me. ........ well sure enough they put him in the parlor.

The next day we spent hours at the church with two preachers preaching. Well they said he would be laid to rest in the old church yard. So we got around the place they were to put him to rest. Then the folks sang old church songs. Well then both preachers and the folks sang some more. Seems I fell asleep and Dad had to wake me up. Never heard the end of that. Back to the farm kitchen and eat some more.


The Country Store–A Way of Life

By Evelyn (

Saturday was shopping day for provisions for the household. Mama dressed us up in our best bib and tuckers. We all piled into the car and went to town and made an afternoon of it. We would go shopping up and down the streets of our little farm town. I don't remember all that we bought, but I learned what shopping and comparing prices was all about. Also, how it was to stop and chit chat with neighboring farmers whom we didn't see all week except for Saturdays. That was the day for shopping and what we call today, “hanging out.”

The country store was another matter. It wasn't a place for “hanging out”so to speak. It was always there for “old fashioned quick one-stop-shopping.” At least that was the way it was with our family. Not many days went by that Mama did not have one or the other of us trotting up the road to Mann’s, which later became Bond’s, and still is today. They treated us like family. The store is still there, but you wouldn't know the old place back. It is greatly enlarged. But it is still, by any standards, a country store.

Legend has it that I made my first trip up to Mann’s store on our mule, Bill, with Uncle Carl when I was about two. Uncle Carl was like a big brother and I followed him everywhere. Mama needed yeast and I cried to go along. Against Grandpa’s better judgement, I happily made the mile trip up the dirt road and Uncle Carl saw me safely home again.

Grandpa, Uncle Carl and Evelyn on her first trip to the Country Store

I loved going to that store. It always meant that I got a piece or two of penny candy! Then there came the day that I made my solo trip. I can remember it as if it were yesterday. It was a sunny summer Monday and it was wash day. Mama needed a bar of Octagon soap for the scrub board. The fire was set under the big black wash pot and the zinc tubs and scrub boards were ready for the weekly wash which was sorted out neatly into piles under the sycamore tree behind the well. Mama called me to her side and said, “I want you to go up to Mann’s store and buy a bar of Octagon soap.” My heart skipped a beat. “You're a big girl now and you are going to school in September. I was only five years old. My sixth birthday wouldn't be until November. I felt important and scared all at the same time. Clutching the nickel for the bar of soap, I walked up the lane and out onto the dirt county road. It was a distance of a mile. I made my purchase and was home in what must have been record time. From that day forward if I, or any of my siblings took longer than what she felt was the prescribed time for the trip to and from the store, we had to answer to it.

Scrub board and bar of Octagon Soap and kerosene can with potato stopper

The main items that kept us going back to the store on at least a thrice weekly basis were yeast for bread that Mama baked every other day, and kerosene, which we called coal oil, for our lamps. We did not have electricity. When I lost the cap to the oil can we just capped it with a potato. My least favorite thing was going to the store for coal oil. It was smelly and it was heavy.

We didn't always have cash. We bartered with eggs. Memory doesn't serve me as to what we bartered for dozen eggs. but I clearly remember Mrs. Mann or Freda Bond carefully counting out the eggs that I had taken to the store for that day’s purchases. Once, to my everlasting shame, I sneaked on extra egg that was the price of a big peppermint stick. It tasted so good as I sucked and licked it all the way home. So help me, my conscience bothers me to this day!

When there was extra cash in strawberry picking time Mama would let me and my sister pick out the material by ourselves for a new dress. It was a big deal to decide from which bolt of cloth our new dress would be sewn. The store owner always made us feel “so big” and “so important” as she took special care in helping us choose. This was bonding at its best. I shall never forget how she took the time to help us select just the right buttons and thread because we knew what pattern Mama would use to sew our dresses. They also carried oil cloth. It became the job of my sister and me to pick out new oil cloth for our dining room table. It worried us that the design might not be to Mama’s liking.. But she was always happy with our choice which was usually a very colorful one!

We have our giant pharmaceuticals today with their aisle upon aisle of choices of merchandise. When I think back at my little country story with its single Texaco pump in front of it and its owner behind the counter to greet me as I was growing up, I had everything to my needs, and then some.






First Kiss

Time's Passing

Late Bloomers

Spotlight Graphics

The Old House ( 12 Authors)

All For Naught?

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