More Red & White Stories
While still in high school, my mom Sybil June worked at the local Red & White store in Indian Head, Pennsylvania. It was a small store that had been a mining corporation’s company store. It was the only market in town, so she was expected to learn all of the areas of the store from stocking and sweeping to working behind the meat counter and to manning the cash register. She had to know each product and where it was located.
Being the only store in Indian Head, it carried all sorts of products; groceries, shoes, clothing, and some things that are not stocked in many of the department stores today, like animal feeds, seeds, fertilizer, barbed wire, salt blocks, wiring, plumbing supplies, lumber, glass jars, and glass jugs. Resh’s stocked steel traps used to trap furs, work boots, work gloves, dresses, under clothing, brassiere, work pants, socks, stockings, jeans, and shirts. Assorted foods like salted dried fish, pickles from a barrel, and penny candies stored in jars.
One day as she was restocking the shelves, a man approached her and asked her for assistance.
He was trying to buy a brassiere for his wife. My mom was young, innocent, and naive. It was a time when men didn’t talk in mixed company about a woman’s unmentionables, but I suspect that the man was a usual unpolished and rough-hewn red necked local resident. It embarrassed my mother to no end.
Of course, he didn’t know the size his wife needed nor did he have his wife with him.
It was an awkward moment, but it became even worse when my mom asked, “Do you know what size she is?”
Blushing and red faced, she sputtered and continued, "You need to find out what size she wears or make a guess as to what size she needs, otherwise I can’t help you. You need to give me more information.”
His reply, “I don’t really know, but she has two good handfuls”
Another incident occurred when a customer came into the store to buy a box of four glass jugs. MY mom had sold jugs to him before.
Jokingly, my mom said, “I see you’re buying more jugs. Are making moonshine?”
The man stopped in his tracks, turned, and snarled, “That’s none of your damned business, girlie,” spinning around he turned and left the store carrying his box of jugs.
My father met my mom at the Red & White store and began to flirt with her. He owned an Indian motorcycle and would offer her a ride home. She would always refuse. One day someone rode by her on a bike and grabbed the sleeve of her coat. It tore, she fell down, and she was upset. She always blamed my dad for the incident and he always denied that he had caused it. I never did find out whose story was correct, but they dated and of course married, and our family was created.