O'Ryans Village Archive Page
Sunday, January 30, 2011
I recently turned 50, whew! My wife and her sister created a digital photo montage of my life. It took about five minutes to watch. How's that for summing things up? One of the pictures was me at about age 5 standing on Main Street. I stared at this picture with my childhood in the background. In about 30 seconds, 15 years of my life blew through my mind. What spectacular times these were. The Kennedys, The Beatles, Ed Sullivan, Viet Nam, Muscle Cars, Civil unrest, Summer of Love, and Woodstock. America was changed forever.
I grew up in a small Midwestern town during these times. We were somewhat insulated from these events by the pace set by small town life. We saw through our televisions the World swirling around outside of our cocoon. We were very much aware of the change going on out there and while some things did change us too, we still lived in somewhat of a time warp. We had Main Street, and it was the center of everything in the town. Main Street cut through the town from beginning to end, and yes, if you didn't pay attention, you would miss it. To us that lived there, we didn't miss a thing.
Two full blocks of Main Street contained the businesses that provided whatever we needed for our day to day needs. The Public library where people actually sat and read books, magazines, and newspapers. The newspapers from all over the Country were hung over huge wood rods on a rack. This is how we brought the World to us before the World Wide Web. As you moved down the street the stores were lined up next to each other on both sides. The laundromat, barber shop, florist, the dentist, women's and men's clothing stores, shoe store, drug store, grocery market and butcher shop, dry cleaner, two car dealers, hotel, two diners, and two taverns. Oh yea, and a Church at each end of town. It was all there.
Now that I think about it, the businesses were all Husband and Wife teams. The market was run by a Husband as the butcher, the wife was the grocer. The Diner had the Mrs. waiting tables and counter while the Mr. was cooking. You know they had the best cheeseburgers that I have to this day ever tasted! They served up chocolate malts to you in Stainless cups. At the drug store, he was the Pharmacist and she ran the soda bar. On the corner of Main Street and the Railroad tracks was the most important place of all, The Ben Franklin store. We just called it "The Dime Store". The wife ran the dime store and he ran the hardware store in the back.
The Dime Store was a place where a dime could actually buy you some happiness. No, not everything was a dime of course, but to a child, a dime could open up all kinds of possibilities. The candy aisle was full of possibilities lined up on shelves in bright colored boxes, racks of goodies hanging, and glass jars full of treats that could be had for a penny or two. The drug store had a pretty good candy counter, but the Dime Store was King. There were jars full of Kits and BB Bats suckers, hot dog gum, Mary Janes, and Smarties rolls. On the shelves in boxes were usually the pricier items, had to do a little saving to get those treasures unless Grandma and Grandpa came to visit and you could talk Grandpa into a walk down Main Street. He sure expanded the possibilities! With his financial power I could shop the Bun Bars, Oh! Henry bars, and even the Mallo Cups. All of this in one spot. This store is the inspiration for O'Ryans Village. Although things have changed enough that this stuff isn't a dime anymore, you can still find it all in one spot. Browse our "aisles" of bright colored boxes and glass jars of Old Time candy and have fun. We are the Corner Candy Store on Main Street of the Information Super Highway. It too is operated by a Husband and Wife team. Enjoy a Sweet Little Blast from the Past!
For the record, this is all true! This town is Union Grove in Southeastern Wisconsin.
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