The flag itself, along with any color, is painted on the back side of the glass. There is a small cutout to put the name of the retailer on the bottom. Over the years it chipped a little, but it's still a classic. It's in a wood frame with a paper easel back and my grandfather probably handed these out in the 1940's.
My grandparents had a little hardware store for fifty-two years in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. They bought the store in 1921 and retired in 1973. The store is long since gone, but not the memories.
As a kid, especially at Christmas time, I'd help out in the store. This is back in the days before the big retailers; there was no Internet and in fact, looking at the framed picture of the flag, even phone numbers were different - only four digits!
- Working as a kid in the store I got a lesson in confidence by being taught to greet each customer and offer to help find what they needed.
- I learned about inventory and even a little record-keeping, although my grandfather was horrible at keeping track of things.
- I got my first lesson in guns and ammunition, simply because he carried hunting rifles and small caliber pistols. The ammunition was in the back of the store, but back then there were no restrictions on what I could sell to a customer.
- The nails weren't in prepacked boxes like we get today, but in bins with a scoop. There were sold by the pound.
- He was set up to cut glass and window shades. I learned to do both.
- I was probably about sixteen when I discovered my grandfather had a booming business selling condoms. They were hidden behind one of the nail bins. I guess it was less embarrassing to buy them at the hardware store than up the street at the drug store!
- Just about everybody had a credit line at Rogat Hardware. My grandfather did business on a handshake right up to the day he died, but he kept manual records of what people owed him and they'd do their best to pay him a little at a time - no interest, just working down the principle.
- It's also where I learned to drink my coffee, black. My grandfather was one of my very best friends. I was probably about thirteen when we went for breakfast one morning and he asked, "What do you want to drink?" I answered, "Coffee, just like you." He knew my mother would kill us both if she ever found out, but he ordered me a black coffee, just like he was drinking.
Take a few minutes today and find yourself one old photograph from your childhood and then just kick back and think about the memories that bubble to the surface. Then, share a part of the story on your blog and use it to remind "Mom" how quickly the kids grow up and life changes. When was the last time she had a family portrait done?
Happy Throwback Thursday.