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Monday, 14 May 2012

Sunshine and Bombs : Suburban Villa #5

She kept the corner shop
somewhere to stop
between my home and school.
Jar upon jar of home made sweets
all kinds of treats
(my favourite: frogs' spawn and -
but I forget now what came after "and":
it maybe just as well)
for boys who had no taste at all
but free of rationing,
no coupons needed -
what matter if they melted in your mouth like paste?
What went into them, well,
only Heaven would have known -
and kept the secret like the world depended on it.
She was our heroine -
for that was long before
they made it non-PC to use the feminine.

At first her name was Gloria.
Glorrrrria, I'd call it,
rolling the r round on my tongue,
trying versions and extensions for effect.
Trying anything that came to mind:
like Glory, Glorious and glorify.
They all, along with Gloria itself, I learned,
were from the liturgy.

Soon, though, she mentioned to my dad one day
she never could stand sun,
she'd rather have the bombs than sunshine any day.
And after that her name was changed.
Sunshine and Bombs we called her then.
The name caught on.
Some thought that she must be a Fascist,
some, just a nutty tart,
others thought she might be sick - have caught
a tropical disease -
and needed to avoid the sun.

She had a counter, very small, in a dark corner,
with loads of stuff for witchery,
black magic and the like.
Some said the sweets came from her spells.
My Gran said not to buy them,
for she made them in her bathroom
and stored them underneath her bed - although
she'd say the same
of Elderado when he peddled his ice cream.

12 comments:

cloudia charters said...

rich enjoyable reminiscence with a hint of, mint?




Warm Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>

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Brian Miller said...

very cool...i love people like this...and corner stores as well...they aalways have interesting things...your mothers warning as well in the end made me smile a bit in its familiarity...

kaykuala said...

We had our own little corner stores too! The owner operators were known to us. Now the 7-eleven had taken over with school leavers trying to be nice behind the counter! Great rewinds Dave!

Hank

Rachna Chhabria said...

I like this a lot. Corner stores are filled with interesting things :)

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Great picture. I liked in particular the rrrr in Gloria. I would stress the "O" thinking of the song, Patti Smith's version...

Claudia said...

hehe..love it...she sounds like an immensely interesting person...made me smile..

Windsmoke. said...

Remids me of the song Gloria written by the legendary bluesman John Lee Hooker and covered by many bands all over the world :-).

Dulcina said...

Another interesting Monday portrait. That woman at the corner counter with a funny nickname you remember well, her secret ingredients, the children's heroine before this term was not considered politically correct - what a good remark! -, that Glorrrria - I can hear her name - who suffered that strange disease, that kind of good witch who made children's life sweeter on their way home.
And another delicious end with your gran's fears.
:)

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The Elephant's Child said...

How I miss corner stores. Supermarkets do not ever have charm. Neither do they have big bottles filled with wonderful, wonderful sweets and staffed by Glorias who would allow you to choose those sweets individually. 'I will have one of those, and two of those, no wait....'
Thanks Dave, this was a wonderful return to my past.

Dave King said...

cloudia
Love the hint of mint! Thanks for.

Regina
Thanks for the info.

Brian
Thanks Brian. I suppose parents and kids are pretty much the same the world over.

Hank
Like it, like it much. Thanks.

Rachna
They are, indeed - that one particularly so. Perhaps a seies: Corner Stores I have known... maybe not! Thanks a lot.

Tommaso
Yes, I might do so now, but back then I had an obsession for tongue rolling!

Claudia
I thought she was great, though she obviously infuriated some - my parents included at times.

Windsmoke
Yes, see what you mean. Can't say I'd ever put them together, though.

Dulcina
I like this, it's excellent and so accurate of her: that kind of good witch who made children's life sweeter on their way home. This is exactly right. Her to a tee.
Thanks so much for the response. (Glad you appreciated Gran's fears.)

The Elephant's Child
Yes, we have a shop close by us on the square which until recently used to do that. Not home made, of course, but big jars of sweets, every one a different kind, and even the senior pupils from the comprehensive would go in and ask for "a quarter of the red ones and a quater of the black". It changed hands recently and I don't think the new owner does that. So does the old order change - and God fulfills Himself in many ways, lest one good custom should corrupt the world!