Box after box of penny candy that we loved to buy

Posted by | March 30, 2007

“The Tomahawk Store was a very important center for the village. E. Trone and Maude Hedges lived there and ran the store when I was a child. It was a true general store as they sold many of the food items that couldn’t be home grown, along with sewing notions, nails, candy, soda pop and ice cream, bits of hardware, chicken feed, etc. Floor to ceiling shelves full of goods were on two walls while large glass display cases held other items of interest. One of the largest cases held box after box of penny candy that we loved to buy when we had a penny or two.

“There were two large gas pumps outside as well as a compressor to fill the car tires with air. In the early days most of the families did not have refrigerators so the store also sold ice. If a woman in the village needed something that couldn’t be found in the store, Maude would go into her quarters and look to see if she had an extra. I still have a wooden ironing board that she gave my mother one day when she found out that Mother didn’t have one. Nobody had much money in those days and Trone often let people buy things on credit until payday came around. For many years the store had the only telephone in the village and they were generous enough to let people use it to call the doctor or the undertaker.

Cooperative general store at Reedsville, West Virginia, 1936, by Edwin Locke
“In front of the display cases were long wooden benches that were filled every evening with men who liked to sit around the potbelly stove and “loaf.” (This was interpreted to mean smoke, chew tobacco and gossip.) Naturally, the men thought the matters they “cussed” and discussed were very important and that only women gossiped. My granddad spent most of his day sitting on the store porch. His opinions were sought out at election time but since he was a staunch Republican and most of the others Democrats, we suspected that they voted the opposite of what he told them. Trone and Maude had a pet parrot that lived at the store. The parrot didn’t last long after the young men taught it to cuss.”

—from “Growing up in Tomahawk” by Judith Rooney Erskine
The Berkeley Journal, issue 28, 2002, publ by the Berkeley County Historical Society

appalachian+history appalachian+culture appalachia history+of+appalachia

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