Musty Books and Salty Popcorn

2015-06-27Memories of my childhood public library were recently stirred. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s my childhood best friend, Carol and I would walk or ride our bikes numerous times to the Hansen branch on Martha and Vine Street.

The musty smell of the library would immediately hit us when we opened the door of this brick building. The reception desk was immediately at the entrance. On the right side was the adult’s section and on the left was the children’s section. I can visualize the card catalog cabinets and the square benches topped with vinyl orange cushions. After perusing the books and choosing my picks for the week, I’d pull out my library card that had my name and address embossed on the bottom and the green stripe across the top with Hammond Public Library printed on it. At that time they used a pre-“post-it note” that would have the due date printed on it and placed on the pocket that held the card for that book.

Before going back home Carol and I would visit the Hessville Dime Store on Kennedy Avenue that was located across the street. The dime store was a fascinating place for us to shop when we were young.

I must have spent quite a bit of my allowance at the store because I could always find something to buy. On every visit I followed the ritual of walking to the last aisle to the right of the store to thoroughly examine all the inexpensive toys that were displayed on reachable cabinets. From there I would either go to the corner of the store where the large popcorn machine stood and buy the delicious salty popcorn or walk to the glass encased candy display across from the cash registers and sales ladies and wish I could buy it all.

Perhaps the candy was displayed there because the sales ladies were always suspicious of every child that walked in the store. Since they didn’t have security cameras then, they would follow us throughout the store to make sure we weren’t going to begin a life of shoplifting at the young age of ten.

Both the library and dime store have been closed for over twenty five years. I believe the library eventually became a police station post and the dime store building was razed and the site is now a parking lot. Although the buildings no longer physically exist, they will forever emotionally exist in the memories of my childhood as part of wonderful summer days spent inside both of these dream filled buildings.

What special childhood memories do you have? Now is the time for you to pull out your laptop or grab paper and pen and start Keeping Your Memories of your childhood and places that you regularly visited.

  • What locations did you regularly visit?
  • How did you commute to these locations?
  • Did you get to go to these places by yourself or did you have to go with a parent?
  • Describe the details of this location.
  • Describe the smell of this location


2 thoughts on “Musty Books and Salty Popcorn

  1. We went “downtown Hessville” a lot, too, when I was a kid. In the summer, we would rise our bikes or walk to the Library to check out books. Don’t remember what you described because I think they still stamped your card and the book for return due date. Went to the Dime Store to see what I could get for $1 or less. Also, went to Janc’s Drug Store for a cherry coke. Fun times.

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