Sunday, May 20, 2007
I drive past this scene nearly everyday of my life.
It's a very real impressionable part of me.
When I was not-yet-five, we moved to Santa Rosa so we could live closer to the grocery store my dad and his business partner, Marvin, owned. It was Kings Market, located next door to Fosters Freeze.
I still remember my dad letting us use the Dial-a-Date 12-Year Rubber Stamp to press the date on the cans and climbing up the back steps in the lunch room to spy on the customers that appeared in various shades of gray through the tented windows. The cold ice cream glass case had masking tape alongside the crack where so many people leaned up against it, cracking it. My dad would let us help ourselves to the ice cream drumstick or the root beer popsicle.
I remember shopping there with my mom and feeling proud, watching my dad behind the counter at the cash register ... wearing a neck tie and green apron, he barely acted like he recognized us... acting as business-like as possible, talking quietly. Every summer, behind the brick wall out in front in the parking lot, they sold fireworks before the Fourth of July. I spent so much time at the Fosters Freeze. While waiting for my half vanilla/half chocolate soft cone, I'd grab the pole out in front and twirl around it.
"Watch me. Watch me. Watch me..." I'd say. I'd grab high up on the pole and twirl around as many times as I could before my feet reached the ground.
I still drop by the Fosters Freeze on occasion. It doesn't feel quite so fast-food since they take your order and cook it on the spot, making it feel more home-made than anything.
There was once a laundromat in that center. I think it's been replaced by a vacuum repair shop. I remember my mom taking us all there to do the laundry and while the clothes were being washed, she would let me sit in the cart and my sister would push me around like a carnival ride. The owner's name was John and he lived in the apartment above the laundromat. He wore overalls and was always taking the coins out of the machines and putting them into cloth bags to take to the bank. Or to place under his bed or in a sock drawer for all I know.
Kings Market is now a carpet store. I walked in it a few years ago with my mom while looking for carpet. It was barely recognizable. I wanted to tell the man working that day that my dad once had a grocery store there and I imagined myself pointing up to the windows up in the back and telling him how I would watch the customers through the tinted glass, and how they sold fireworks right outside that window. But I knew he wasn't interested, so after we browsed through the carpet samples we left without saying a word, making a quick stop at Fosters Freeze to order a half vanilla/half chocolate soft cone because even through the midst of so much change, there are still things that remain the same.