Sunday, September 16, 2007

People's Drug

Shorpy has a cool photo of a pre-1932 People's Drug Store. I don't go quite that far back; I remember the store from Maryland in the 1970's. A name can be pretty evocative. The single residual memory - out of all the hundreds of times over a twenty year span that I went to People's Drug - is of my redoubtable Grandmother Sullivan, who probably only visited the place one time.

The memory is a diptych.The first part has her leading us crossing the road, taking it for granted that the cars on Route 450 would just stop. They did. It must have made quite an impression on my eight year old brain; something on the order of: "Shit, I didn't know you could do that!" What I remember of the lunch at the soda fountain with my New York grandma (and I'm certain I remember it with fidelity) was her mirth at a sign behind the counter: "Tipping is now permitted." I had only the foggiest idea at the time of what tipping was, or why the sign was so amusing, but there you go - the memory is planted.

These days a guy like me doesn't have to go moping around thinking: "I wonder whatever the hell happened to People's Drug?". Wikipedia fills us in, but alas, People's Drug, it turns out, has been inhaled by CVS. What Wikipedia doesn't tell us is how the chain got its rather commie sounding name. New Deal era, perhaps? But, no... founded in 1904, so probably a bit more of a William Jennings Bryan - type thing than a Franklin Roosevelt or a Leon Trotsky.