Mary Martin Carr




(photo courtesy of Becky Fehring)

Owners Roy and Margarette Whetstone were always pleasant and friendly and treated customers as family.  We Martin children shopped at this little neighborhood "mom and pop" grocery frequently. Basic items such as milk, eggs, bread, some canned goods, beer, and cigarettes were offered to patrons.  The store had a meat counter in the back, probably consisting more of cold cuts, cheese and such.  As I recall, we didn't buy meat there, but certainly spent our money on ice cream bars, candy, gum, candy bars, potato chips and pop by the bottle.  We could buy a piece of bubble gum or licorice for a penny, and a candy bar or bottle of pop for 5-10 cents.  In the summer we looked forward to purchasing our favorite frozen dessert snacks: popsicles and their variants, fudge, cream and dream sicles.  We were always delighted when we found one with "free" stamped on the stick, for this meant a bonus treat when returned to the proprietor.


Steps of the Martin home, 304 Washington, early 1950s
Back row from left: Linette Martin, Marie Martin, Mary Martin
front row: Dale and Gene Love, neighbors

Our mother did not drive but shopped almost everyday for our large family.  We would receive a candy bar or bottle of pop for our help in carrying paper sacks of groceries home.  A soda was a treat.  Soft drink consumption then was far less than it is today.

When I was in first grade at Lincoln School, the class had a party to commemorate the first Thanksgiving.  We were to bring food items such as popcorn, apples, etc. to represent that first dinner.  I was to bring prunes.  Mr. Whetstone asked how many I needed.  I said, "Six or eight," and purchased a bag full.  He soon nicknamed me "Prunella."  My brother, Jerry, tried to call me by that name just to irritate me.  I was always thankful that it didn't stick.

This summer, my sister, Pauline, and I had lunch at the Suburban Restaurant at Gilbert Corner.  A young man by the name of Austin Whetstone works there.  As we visited, I learned that he is a great-grandson of Roy and Margarette.  I shared the Prunella story with him and asked that he relate it to his father.  Thus, I officially ended my half century of embarrassment and silence.

Recollection by Mary Martin Carr (AHS Class of 1958) September 9, 2008