Tuesday, July 6, 2010

MSU Museum: At the General Store

Can you resist a general store? I can't. I may have been a lousy pioneer woman, but I would have loved to shop!

Somehow, the one-stop shopping of Meijer or even Target just isn't quite the same, with tall warehouse-scaled ceilings, florescent lights and metal shelves.

Give me the scaled-down, rustic feel of a general store.

A place where you can buy ribbon, satisfying even the grandest crafter -- or milliner.

And candy! No bags of M&Ms or wrapped bars. These are individually chosen -- or maybe by the carefully weighed pound.

How lovely to pick up your prescriptions -- a tonic with opium, perhaps -- at the same time you shop for clothing. (Oh, right -- we can do that now, too. Except for the opium.)

And while you're at it, pick up a few pounds of flour for all those cakes and breads you'll be whipping up by hand.

And grind your coffee in the massive grinder while you're there. Who needs Black and Decker?

Perhaps if you're very kind to the proprietor, you'll be able to use his special typewriter. (And who knows, he could be a budding novelist when business is slow!)

The general store. We still have them -- but they're oh, so different these days. And how I do miss this quaint, old-fashioned style.

Long ago when the kids were young, and we were all in North Carolina near Boone, we went to the Mast General Store. It was a gloomy day -- not quite winter, not quite spring. While I shopped for all the things one would hope to find on vacation, Rick and the kids sat on the porch of the general store in oversized rockers, drinking soda from glass bottles.

Kevin learned to whittle that summer. Well, it was never a skill he chose to continue. But I still think of that time with great warmth. Kids and their dad, hanging on the porch of the general store. Just being.

(Recreated at the MSU Museum.)


  1. I would love to nosey about that store as well it has so much character and things to muse over. Fabby.

  2. What a darling post!!!
    Last summer we visted a general
    store just outside of Long Beach, Washington....It had everything and was such a nod to the past. Not quaint in the way the store you feature here was; more of a 1950's feel. I am with you, 100%; I love general stores, boutiques and of course, markets!
    xx Suzanne

  3. This brought back memories of a general store we used to go to in the 50s when we would visit my grandmother in Marblehead, MA. I really love your photo of the ribbons.

  4. I've always liked all the old general stores they have in movies, and think how nice it would be to visit one. This recreation looks fantastic! Are you allowed to walk around in it or is it just a display to look at?

  5. When I was growing up, we had a small country store. There was a bench outside where the kids sat while waiting for the school bus and the old men sat to chew the fat in the afternoon. Mr. Harris sold everything from cheese and meat and candy to work boots and overalls. What a great place. Loved your photos.

  6. 當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

  7. there certainly does look like there is lots of good shopping there Jeanie!

    thanks also for sharing such sweet memories with us!

    p.s. I have had such varied word verifications this visit "wingly" is my favorite ;)


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