My Visit to a Country Store

It was a thursday morning and I had alot to do. The dishwasher was broke and the water heater was broke. The weeds were growing and the floors needed mopping. Even though Kaos was happening I lay awake thinking I need an adventure. Usually when I need an adventure but have limeted time and gas money I have to have a close adventure. I decided to take a drive, of course camera in tow looking for something fun! Well as I drove thru the country side through the rolling hills of Pa, through farm land and small country towns I was amazed at the beauty of it all. I found incredible views and horses grazing and incredible houses and structures but I kept driving. I was in a town called East Berlin and I saw a really cool country cafe which I made a mental note I need to return. The town of East Berlin was Named after Berlin Germany. Then I saw a sign for Biglerville, Pennsylvania. That was the town I wanted because I read there was a country store there that was 100 years old and Dwight D. Eisenhower had visited there!.

Biglerville is a borough in Adams County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 1,200 at the 2010 census. The National Apple Museum is located on West Hanover St. in Biglerville.[1] The borough is served by the Upper Adams School District and is home to Biglerville High School.

As I entered Biglerville I started to get excited to find this famous Country Store. Ok so there it was; I had arrived. Surrounded by small town store fronts this business surely stood out. Right out front was a sign stating that this was the famous country store you had read about in all the newspapers and magazines across the country!! 100 YEARS OF FUN! The Thomas Brothers Store!

Thomas Brothers Store, also known as Biglerville Country Store, is a historic general store and residential building located at Biglerville in Adams County, Pennsylvania. The store was built in 1912, and is a three-story, rectangular brick building with a shed roof. It sits on a stone foundation, has a three bay front elevation with a prominent cornice, and has Classical Revival style influences. It measures 40 feet wide by 100 feet deep. Located on the third floor is a large meeting room known as Thomas Hall. Attached to the store building is a three-story, two bay house also built in 1912

Check out the sign!

As I entered the store there was a little old lady sitting on some boxes opening some new merchandise for the store. Her name was Marion, my middle name! She had on bright gold specialty shoes, a bright salmon colored shirt with a big pink hairbow in her hair. Right away she informed me that she spray painted her shoes herself. She welcomed me to the store but she was on the phone talking to a vendor or customer or publisher. She is having a book published about her and her business. I didnt find out why but the store is run by her and her sister Jean but yet it is called the Thomas Brothers Store. I thought that was a coincidence since my name is Jeanne Marion. Anyway, she welcomed me as she finished her phone call. I started to walk around trying to wrap my eyes around all the differnent nooks and cranny’s of this very old and disorganized country store and Museum. Marion inforrmed me later that she went to NYU to study fashion so the store is part fashion show, part vintage and general goods and part museum peppered with photos of history of the store and nearby Gettysburg and presidents etc. You can tell Marion’s Love of Fashion in her front window.

Here is Marion’s love of Fashion!

I forgot to mention the wonderful music playing from the 30’s and 40’s that you hear as soon as you walk in. Pop Standards were playing which in this day and age would be thought of as Jazz standards. It immediately got me in the mood for a vintage treasure hunt. She got off the phone and I asked her if I could take some pictures and she said as long as they were good. Ha! Marion has a sense of humor but I  guess I already knew that when I saw her spraypainted blinged out specialty shoes. I decided to ask her if I could take a picuture of her. She said yes but as I started to focus she said I have a better place you can take my picture so help me up! I said Ok are you sure it’s not too much trouble and she said no. So I helped her up and we shuffeled over to her counter. She said this way I can get a picture of her and the pictures in the background of her Daddy with the President when he visited the store back in 1960. There was also a picture of President Lincoln and her one and only husband.  Marion told me that the president really loved country stores and he liked thier store so much that he gave her father and her a very expensive gift which is located in the nearby Library that Marion owns in Biglerville.

Here is Marion, in the background you can see her father and Dwight Eisnehower who visited there in 1960.

She told me that she went to NYU for Fashion and she met he husband ; her love there. They were married and he died very young at 22. I asked her if she ever married again and she said no. I said why, your so pretty and she said they all wanted to boss me. The didnt think I knew anything. I said who they and she said all the men. She said she never met a man she liked; loved as much as her first husband. You can see a picture of him in this photo, the handsome fellow with the pipe.

I walked around one more time and came across some more pictures in the Museum part of the store. I definatley want to go back at Christmas time. She then showed me the merchandise she was opening and I fell in Love with it. I just found the perfect present for my mother for Christmas!! I can’t share that picture until after Christmas!

President Dwight Eisenhower
Some vintage fabric

After I was done looking I told her I would come back another time. She wanted to know what I did and where I was from. She asked what I did for work and she asked me to sign her visitors book. She said she met so many people that she couldnt keep track and I should write details of myslef under my name. We talked about her book coming out and she told me she wished she could buy regular shoes but she had problem feet and she only has that one pair of shoes. Ok, by now I realized it was getting quite late so I paid her “CASH ONLY” No credit cards taken for the perfect Christmas gift for my mom. I told her I had to get back home to make dinner. She handed me a flyer about the store and she then instruced me where to get myself a bag behind the counter. I told he I would come back and she grabbed my hand to hold it and said please dont forget to come back. I said Of course I won’t forget , how could I forget. I said you will see us around Christmas Time and she said ok as long as you promise. What a sweetie. I had a great time but now I had to get back quick; time was tic tocking away! This was just what I needed to refresh my creative juices and get my Retro Fix. So if your ever in Biglerville; five miles from Historic Gettsburg take some time to smell the roses and meet Marion in a 100 year old Country Store. Maybe you will find the perfect gift too!

Love and Happiness, Jloz

FACE VALUE

I have been thinking about something for a while. It has been on my mind and there are many reasons why it keeps coming back to the forefront of my mind. I used to be a huge Phil Collins fan when I was younger and that originated from my love for Genesis. Or maybe it was the other way around, I don’t know. When I was in high school two of my favorite bands were Genesis and The Who. Face Value was one of my favorite records and I used to listen to it all the time. Especially when I was jogging or working out at the gym. That music had a quiet fierceness to it that motivated me.

I happened to see it the other day in a box and decided to listen to it. It brought back a ton of memories but mostly it reminded me of a conversation I overheard when my mother and her friends were playing cards. Now they are Octogenarian’s. The Greatest Generation  according to Tom Brokaw. So one night my mom and her friends were playing cards and they started talking about how different it was from the way it is now.

They said that back in the day, people said what they meant. They took people at Face Value. There was no innuendo or sub context or hidden messages or agenda’s that they had to sift thru.

This meant This and That meant That. We didn’t have to worry about the stuff you younger folks have to worry about. Think about that. They took people at Face Value. Back in the day people just said what they meant. Hmmmm….It made me think.

Ok I know. I know  There were hucksters, hustlers and Snake oil salesman and con men, that generation had them but they were the exception not the rule. What my mom and her friends were saying was it was just easier. There were no games, you didn’t con your friends. You said what you meant and you did what you said and you kept your word. A handshake was a handshake.

People don’t even handshake anymore; the fist bump is now more the norm. I wonder if that is a sign of today’s unwillingness to trust each other.

So they believed what people told them. WOW! What a concept.

If you were lucky enough to see the Movie Nebraska you would fall in Love with Woody and his son.

Well I did anyway.

Slowly. You fall in love slowly. They aren’t lovable characters at all but if you just keep watching….

They are lovable in a less conventional way. If not love ….your heart if you have one will melt at the end of this father and son movie.

Woody, the main character was a man that was going to get his Good Housekeeping Million dollar award before he died. Everybody told him is was a farce of the most common kind, the biggest most obvious scam around but he insisted on taking the Pilgrimage miles and miles away to get his millions.  He believed the letter he received that said he was a millionaire. It’s one of those movies that you know will have a beautiful message with a sad twist. When the son couldn’t change his father’s mind to abandon his misguided dream he decided to go with him. He unexpectedly learned some interesting things about his dad along the way.

He became aware of why his father might have drank so much over the years. A strange and sad childhood. A bad marriage and a wife that really didn’t love him. He did meet the woman that really loved his father and still did from the longing looks she gave as she reminisced about him. But mostly his sadness stemmed from a characteristic flaw in his personality. He believed what people told him. WOW. Here we go again. That same theme. He took people at Face Value.

He never got the respect or the courtesy or the friendship he deserved because he was a sucker, the lame duck, the naïve loser that kept falling for the same tricks and lies.

Woody was the but of all the jokes.

He drank to make all his bad decisions, including his choice of the wrong woman a little bit easier to swallow. His son slowly started to understand. Woody’s life started to unravel slowly like a ball of yarn in a kitten’s command.

So they finally make it to the prize office after many miles and adventures along the way. He is finally at the place to collect his million dollars prize and the secretary is more than shocked that someone actually showed up for the prize and she says;

Receptionist: Does he have Alzheimer’s?

His Son:   No, he just believes what people tell him.

Receptionist: That’s too bad.

 

 

 

I won’t tell you the ending but its a great Movie and I highly recommend it. So after watching Nebraska and listening to my Mom and her friends I realized we live in a time where the snake oil salesman is the girl next door and the Con Man can be your priest or Minister and the Hucksters and Hustlers are all around you including people with authority. Who should you believe? Who do you trust?

It makes it really hard, everyone has an angle, a scheme, a get over, a hustle, an agenda. American culture is made to be a game and those who win do not win on their Face Value skills. It’s one big poker game and the guy with the best Poker Face wins. They win on the ability to get over more than their peers do. It’s a big game?

Those that live like Woody, the Naïve Slow unsophisticated losers are losers and deserve to lose. The qualities that made people great, integrity, salt of the earth honest folks are now looked upon as almost a flaw. The suckers, Losers in Life.

Someone called me Naïve the other day. I’ve been called a sucker too.  Someone said I had no people skills. I disagree. I think I have amazing people skills. I think It’s called emotional intelligence.

I admit it. I do not always read between the lines well. I do like to take people for face value. I am a lot like Woody that way. Shame on me.

I see the good in almost anyone. Is that a personality flaw? Probably Yes. So be it.  But the  whole “me and mine’s” mentality sucks. I hate when people say that. I believe in helping people. Am I a sucker? Maybe sometimes and sometimes maybe I am not. I look after myself and have learned some hard life lessons that go along with having a big heart. I get it. But I also know I can sleep at night. If I had to be the con man or the mark I would go with the mark every time. I sleep well.

I just really want to see the good in people and I just really want the good to be there. If that makes me wrong I don’t wanna be right. If that makes me lacking in “People Skills” well then so be it. I know there are people that feel like me, that want to imagine the good in people and sometimes if you imagine the good in people you find the good in people, like a beautiful self fulfilling prophecy.

Virtue and generosity will be rewarded in ways that one cannot know~ Nelson Mandela

I would never believe in the Good Housekeeping— you are a millionaire letter like Woody did but I consider him a compadre,  a throwback when kinder gentler souls existed and could exist without getting swallowed up but the fast and furious.

Remember Freddie in the Curtis Mayfield Song. Yeah, Freddie’s dead.

Everybody’s misused him
Ripped him up and abused him
Another junkie plan
Pushing dope for the man
A terrible blow
But that’s how it goes
A Freddie’s on the corner now
If you want to be a junkie, wow
Remember Freddie’s dead

To all the Woody’s and Freddie’s out there,  The Losers in life, Compadres and Gentle Spirits…..  I salute you.

 

Love and Happiness,

Jloz