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Stories from the Neighborhood

Bay Weekly’s Business Guide strives to expand your neighborhood

            My grandmother’s stories have stayed with me a lifetime. So it’s in the hope of deepening generational memory — and, yes, because I can’t resist telling or hearing a story — that I tell my grandchildren stories of life in my time and places. A favorite — whether of mine or theirs I can’t be sure — is my childhood neighborhood.

            Mine was the kind of neighborhood Annapolitans treasure, with lots of places to walk or bike to. Places like that have always been scare in Southern Maryland, and the automobile age has made them scarcer.

            In my time and place, suburban St. Louis in the 1950s, adults had taken to the roads, driving gloriously streamlined cars. In some parts of University City, Missouri’s fifth-largest city, adults still walked. Older people like my grandmother and her cousins shopped in the city center at the Delmar Loop, where buses and streetcars converged. Jewish people walked to their neighborhood synagogues on Saturdays.

            But in my part of University City — a square bounded by Olive Street Road on the north and Delmar Boulevard on the south, Hanley Road on the east and North and South Road on the west — the streets belonged to kids on foot and bicycle.

            From when I was about five till I was nine, home base was 7555 Olive Street Road, where we lived over our restaurant, the Stymie Club.

            My strip of Olive, between Hanley and North and South, was a neighborhood of attractions.

            Just beyond the boundary was The Beverly, a movie theater where I was allowed to walk on my own, except for the months my Uncle Max lived with us and made me hold his hand. On that same side of the street was the A&P, where I shopped with my mother for foods our restaurant didn’t have, like breakfast cereal and carrots with their frondy tops for the Easter Bunny. And the tire store, where I walked the diameter of giant black truck tires laid on their sides.

            At the Hanley end of the block, I could walk atop the stone walls of Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery and peer curiously through its wrought-iron fences, where just last year vandals overturned gravestones.

            On my side of the street, Millburn Drug Store had comic books and candy, though it lacked a soda fountain. The wood-floored Five and Ten Cent Store was good for hours of browsing, with live fish and birds, art supplies, paper dolls, games and toys. A hardware store with bikes and wagons was next door, and above it a bowling alley ricocheting with the sounds of balls hitting pins. Behind them, an open-sided, three-story, cement-block ruin was deliciously forbidden territory.

            When my mother and I moved to a new suburb halfway between Olive and Delmar, my territory expanded. On Delmar at North and South were two drugstores with soda fountains, a Velvet Freeze ice cream store with many sweet flavors to explore and Pratzels, the Jewish deli, with the savory flavors of corned beef stacked high on rye bread, chopped chicken liver and huge, sour dill pickles, each a whole cucumber. …

 

•   •   •   •   •

 

You see, I get carried away with all the sights and sounds remembered from what was really a very ordinary neighborhood, the kind of place so many of us used to call our own.

            For Chesapeake Country, we’ve tried to make Bay Weekly that kind of neighborhood. Within our pages each week, all sorts of interesting enterprises gather to invite you in. Spread out over the horizontal scope of our pages and stacked up on the vertical, our ads come together as a miniature paper city you can walk through with eyes and fingers. Get into your car, and you can use Bay Weekly as a map to take you to the places you can get the things you need that are outside your reach.

            Crabbing supplies at Bay Country Crabbing, for example. Art supplies at Art Things. Acupuncture at Meadow Hill Wellness. Clocks at Maryland Clock Company. Locally raised meat at Enticement Farms. Golf at Melomar. Urgent Care at AFC.

            This week, in our annual Local Business Guide, the businesses of our Chesapeake Country neighborhood — the partners that bring you Bay Weekly — open their doors and introduce themselves, all in the handy form of your weekly newspaper.

            I hope you enjoy meeting the neighbors who fill our community with opportunity as much as all of us here at Bay Weekly have enjoyed bringing them to you.

 

 

 

Sandra Olivetti Martin Editor and publisher

email [email protected], www.sandraolivettimartin.com