Once upon a time in the heartland of the good old U. S. of A. Main Street was the thrill, the heart of any community. Family owned and operated stores with flashing neon lights and appealing store fronts with immaculate windows giving a tiny glimpse of their amazing products. Made you want to go in and browse. There was an old fashion Drug store with a real soda fountain and a bar with them rolling round seats that children loved to roll around on and make themselves dizzy as they wait for their hand made milkshake, banana split or freshly concocted coca-cola with a shot of lemon or cherry. It would be made by someone dressed in white called a jerk, "a soda jerk". Wow! those were the days my friends and I wish they had never ended! (Today's Drug stores seem so cold and the drugs, all the new modern drugs that promise to fix every ailment and keep you coming back to buy more.) It is at one of those old fashion family owned Drug stores that I purchased my first AM transistor radio with an earpiece so that I would not bother my parents, wow! was I thrilled. I would listen to it under the covers at night and no one knew. I could put the radio in my shirt pocket and felt like one cool little dude at the age of 12.
Each and every store had its own unique appeal and was an individual pleasure shopping. Guess what a shoe store sold? yep! you guessed it, shoes. (I rememder each time I went to the shoe store there was this gigantic shoe on display, I would just imagine the giant that would wear it, you know how the imagination of a child can is). A whole store with nothing but shoes, you ain't heard the best part. You would sit down in chairs and they would have sales people working on commission, now hear this (sorry now read this) would slip the shoes on your feet for you, whoa can you imagine that in todays world of serve yourself! This was called customer service, a lost art. What do you think a Hardware store sold, yep your right, hardware. They employed helpful and knowledgeable people who understood the hardware business. You could take in some du-ja-ma-thing, something you had no idea of what it was called and them smart helpful hardware people could fix you right up.
My personal favorite was Murphy's 5 & 10, (called five and dime). I reckon at one time they actually sold stuff for a nickel and a dime. The basement was toys and clothing. Upstairs was a hodgepodge of everything and as you walked around looking the squeaky old floors seemed to talk to you with every step. (The squeaking of the old time floors in the old building gives an uniqueness not experienced on the cold cement slabs today). As you first walk into the five and dime there was a square counter chocked full with candy and all kinds of heaven's delightful most precious chocolates laying unboxed for you to buy any amount you wished and weighed on one of them old fashion hanging scales. It would be a kids dream to work behint that counter and stuff yourself full um-um-um!!!
The 5 & 10 was tiny compared to the acres and acres of the stores now. You could take all the stores on Main Street and put them in one of them super-duper stores of today. (They just get bigger and bigger, if they continue the city will be inside the Mega-Store-Super-Duper-Metropolis, our motto, work here, sleep here, buy here). Now ain't that a nightmare sheesh!I won't dream of nothing else for a week.
So you take all of thase magical, friendly, heplful stores from a thriving Main Street and build yourself a suburbia utopia. Main Street becomes a ghost street, with out the business's down town looks like a home for vagrants. The once beautiful uniquely appealing structures disintegrate. The once proud buildings have fell out of favor in today's society.
After many years of neglect, wise mayors and civic leaders say let's bring businesse's back down town. A 20 year proposal is drawn up to re do the heart of the city. Let's spend millions of tax payer dollars to remake Main Street what it once was. A wonderful place to gather, have fun, a new thriving proud place once again.
Seems what was once too old to mess with is new once more. Hotels, Convention Center. Parking garages are now needed with the overflow expected. The heart of the community is shocked back from its demise with new money, new ideas but using the old flavor that once made Main Street thrive. Brought back from extinction, to faithfully serve a new agenda, the once old, now new again cornerstone of a new generation is the old still solid and useful courthouse as was prevalent in all communities at one time.