Inside the drugstore, we swivelled on stools at the counter and drank fountain sodas with cherry flavoring. Late Saturday nights we hung out at the paper stand and “oohed” and “aahed”at the hot rods barreling down Gravois, headed to or from the drag strip.
Money was scarce, but we knew how to turn a dime. We’d scrounge around for glass soda bottles which often littered the ground. We’d turn them in at Mrs. Bean’s Confectionary on Sidney and Indiana and collect the 2 cents deposit on each 12 and 16 oz. bottle. We thought we hit a gold mine whenever we discovered a 32 oz. bottle; they were worth a nickel! When my future sister-in-law and I, both 15, came up with 50 cents, we’d head to Savorite Diner and order two Cokes and an order of fries to share. We thought we were cool in our pointy-toed Beatle Boots, white button-down shirts and turquoise stretch pants, our hair teased like a rat’s nest, peering out the plate glass window, hoping to get a glimpse of her boyfriend in his ‘57 Chevy.
Next door to the Jefferson-Gravois Bank, Hill Brothers Shoe Store had their slogan plastered across their front window. “Two for Five, Man Alive!” Those shoes wore out in less than a month. I bought flats in every pastel color imaginable, and also cheap white canvas shoes for P.E., required to be worn with those silly royal blue, bloomer gym suits.
The Gravois Show provided entertainment - a cartoon, previews and three shows, all for 50 cents; 35 cents on Tuesdays. The tiny “greasy spoon” next door to the show permeated the air with the aroma of fried onions. Two doors south of the show was the record shop where we could listen to 45 rpm records in a soundproof booth before purchasing. The proprietor displayed brochures, listing the top 10 songs on the Billboard Charts, and we often just went in to pick up KXOK or WIL handouts with the words to a hit song printed on the back.
Mimosa trees fragranced the summer nights as teen-aged boys and girls hung out on front porches on my block and talked until the wee hours, dreaming of tomorrow, planning our futures, wondering what would become of us. It was an innocent time; we were safe walking the streets and hanging out. Here we are in our mid sixties - my goodness, times have changed! But we haven't. Young at heart, we are still the kids of yesterday.