Wednesday, September 03, 2008

haiku for the corner shop

the piggie market
cookies in the redwood grove
remember the smell. closed

I grew up in what would nowadays be called 'the country'. It was a 25-acre cattle ranch in the middle of rural Aptos, on the coast of California. My parents rented a house on the property from the rancher and his wife, and when I was about 12 or so, they bought half of the land and the house it stood on. Looking back, I suppose it was an idyllic place to grow up, but to me and my brothers it was just Home. (Or, as some of my friends called it, "The Compound". Perhaps a little more cult-y than I would have gone, but I see their point.)

We were 3 winding miles from the nearest shop, the 'corner store' of its day - nothing as elaborate as a supermarket, but they had a deli counter, a hot meat case, and plenty of staples*. It was in a Redwood grove with several other small shops - a florist, a coffee house, a video store, a beautician. The area was an after-school gathering place for the kids from the Junior High, an early morning stop for the caffeine-addicted teenagers on their way to the High School. The Piggie Market sold sundries, groceries, and chewy gingerbread cookies in the shape of (what else) a pig. 

I am reliably informed that Piggie Market is now closed. The downturn in the economy, the rise of internet shopping, the superstores within easy reach have probably all contributed. The Market had its time - and a good one at that. I haven't thought of it in years, but now it all comes flooding back to me, that little shop nestled in the trees. Another piece of my childhood gone (did it ever even exist?), and from 6,000 miles away, I mourn. 

* By 'staples' here I mean things that should probably be in one's pantry, not small pointy pieces of metal. I don't think they sold office supplies. 


Princess of the Universe said...

I bet they sold office supplies too!

I could SO go off on a rant here about big box stores shutting down the little guy- but really, would I be saying anything that we haven't all heard before?

Growing up on a ranch though - nice...

James said...

But if those tiny shops are now closed..and not everyone has a car or a computer...some folks are even more marooned and isolated in that community than they were before aren't they?
Weird things happen in those communities I have seen the films....

Jen said...

It doesn't seem that long ago to me, but it's still amazing how much has changed in a short amount of time.

Being the geek I am, I watched a program on the Science Channel about how by the time 2035 rolls around, we are going to have human robots, robotic chairs & couches that instantly change shape due to our wants, computerized contact lenses, computerized buses that drive themselves, etc. I was absolutely petrified and engrossed all at once.

Anyone hear of "The Terminator"?

2035 isn't that far away. Can you imagine small stores then? I'm sure they'll be obsolete. Sad.

David Merrill said...

Here is a photo of the beloved market. I called the number on the sign, and the message confirms that Piggie Market is closed for good - but the space will be turned into a restaurant/deli, open for breakfast and lunch. That could be pretty nice, actually - we'd have an alternative to the Red Apple cafe, for those holiday weekend mornings when it's crowded.

David Merrill said...

p.s. here are some other photos of that same little Redwood Center area.. enjoy!

Valerie said...

Wow, I'm so sad to hear that Piggie's is closed. I lived around the corner from there and I have such fond memories of walking there as a kid and buying candy.

Princess Pointful said...

It is funny how what seems like another country store to a passerby is so full of memories for others.

Daphne said...

Very evocative - I love to hear about other people's childhoods. In mine, in northern England, we had a shop on every corner and the grocer's boy used to bring your order in a basket on his bike - - yes, really! (And I'm not THAT old, I promise!)

Glamourpuss said...

Now I want ginger cookies.

But I have staples - pointy metal ones.


Princess in Galoshes said...

Funny you mentioned this... I have been nostaligic for some of my childhood memories that no longer exist, too. I wonder if it's the changing of the seasons?

I'm with Galmourpuss, though. Totally craving ginger cookies.

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