Tuesday, December 13, 2016


[Henry, December 13, 2016.]

Trailing clouds of glory, Henry approaches a two-dimensional variety store. Today, “variety store” has become another name for a dollar store, but in earlier times, the variety store sold a great range of brand-name goods. In kidhood I bought Aurora and Revell model kits (cars, monsters, planes) at a variety store — Cheap Charlie’s, on Thirteenth Avenue in Brooklyn. A vivid memory: the shelves in the front-right corner of the store, dark wood, built into the wall, with Elmer’s Glue-All, LePage Mucilage, and unlined notepads. I always found mucilage a little horrifying — partly because of the nipple-like applicator cap, but mostly because of the word mucilage itself. I was eight or nine or ten, and we were an Elmer’s family.

There’s still a Cheap Charlie’s elsewhere in Brooklyn, perhaps a descendant, perhaps an unrelated Charlie. If the epithet fits. . . .

Related reading
All OCA Henry posts (Pinboard)

comments: 4

Chris said...

Yeah, we had a similar store. They sold cigars, newspapers, greeting cards, balsa-wood gliders, caps for cap pistols, baseball cards, Fireballs. All the essentials of civilization, c. 1964.

Elaine said...

City kids get a whole different education! (We had PASTE, as I predates Elmer's School Glue. Kg and 1st grade in Dept of Defense elementary schools in West Germany/Army of Occupation (1952-54)......a lot of 'Go for Broke' school notebooks... Lordy, Lordy, hadn't thought about that for years!

Michael Leddy said...

Chris, I could never have found these things in one place (not that I was looking for cigars then). The candy store had newspapers, comics, baseball cards, little boxes of sunflower seeds, tobacco, and so on. The novelty store had candy, caps, waterguns, gliders, and all sorts of cheap toys. The variety store ran more toward school supplies and household stuff. Oh, to walk in any of those stores now.

Elaine, we had paste in school too. I’m guessing it was much cheaper than anything else. But we always had Elmer’s at home. Also Testor’s plastic cement for putting together models.

Elaine Fine said...

My fondest memories of the fourth grade were when two of my classmates (Mimi Pittman and Dace Treize) mixed white glue and mucilage and made a bouncy flexible kind of clay. Does anyone reading this remember doing something similar?