Memories of Pop

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Hogan Kasperek

Wanna go to the feed store, Jeddy? My grandfather — Pop — would ask me when he was about to go on his Saturday morning ritual of errands and rounds.

Jeddy was my grandfather’s nickname for me (my proper name is Geraldine) and the feed store was the Checkerboard, or maybe the GLF, depending on what he was looking for.

Sometimes it was feed for his chickens; Pop raised them from hatchlings. They were so cute when he brought them home in a big, square cardboard box with holes in it.

I’m not sure where they came from, perhaps from a farmer, maybe from the feed store, who knows, I don’t.

He’d put them in a brooder to keep them warm while they were still babies. The chicks were white, fluffy, and noisy little things, peeping their tiny heads off, and I’d stick my finger through the holes to see if they would peck at me.

Never did it occur to me or even bother me that once they were grown, plump and pretty, they would become food for our dinner table!

My grandfather also raised vegetables. He and my Dad plowed the garden in the spring,

Now with a garden about to be planted, Pop needed seed as well as feed so we could be as well fed as his chickens, and it was off to the feed store with little Jeddy along for the ride.

I remember the smell of the hay, feed and seed; they have their own special aroma!

Back then a lot of basic farm supplies came in bulk form, in barrels and pails and little seed packets and clothe sacks.

Do you remember the cotton flour sacks with pretty designs printed on them? They had a dual purpose: these receptacles for flour, once emptied and washed, could be made into wearing apparel for us women folk, especially little girls like me.

I never had a dress made out of them, though. But I recall seeing a pile of them, all clean and folded at my Aunt Florrie’s house — I can just see her now, running her hands over them, feeling their good quality, and I know they were favorite material for “broomstick” skirts which were so popular among teenagers way back when.

What am I leading up to, anyway? Well, when I mentioned the GLF a few columns ago, I got an e-mail about from former Fultonian Dick Gillespie, who said the GLF was often known as the Co-Op, and that his John Gillespie who lived on the Whitaker Road “was it’s manager throughout the 30s and up to the mid 40s, when he was struck by a car by the Post Office. He was gone in a few days.”

“The GLF at that time was located just south of the Sealright by the South Second Street railroad tracks,” Dick said. “I believe it was sometime about 1950 they moved to the West Broadway location. It was basically a feed store and farm supply outlet and shared the local farmers market with the Checkerboard Feed Store west of the lower bridge.”

Dick sent me some information from the internet — thanks, Dick — which I decided to look up myself and discovered that a gentleman by the name of Charles E. Page wrote in 2003 an account about his personal experiences from his childhood and raised a few chickens by himself.

Feed, he said, back then, was a two or three pennies a pound.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

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