Surrounded by beer joints, wrecking yards, and mom-and-pop markets, how could one ever believe that fantasyland existed in the midst.
It came in the form of Mason’s Drug Store, our very own “Good Ship Lollipop,” with glass covered bins containing an assortment of candy along with the scoops for scoopin’ it up. We left prints on the glass from smooshing our faces up against it to get a closer look at the array of yummy sweets.
There was also an old-fashioned soda fountain that served up a variety of ice cream novelties; malts, milkshakes, floats, sundaes and banana splits. It was nothing fancy, just a fun little place with old-school charm where the neighborhood gathered for licks and sips.
Customers were seated around the sit-down counter with stools that kids would spin, driving the adults crazy! The frenzy was then compounded when adults caught their kids peeking under the counter and being mesmerized by the mess of years of gum and yuk stuck under there!
I recall skating in front of the drug store one day and hearing passersby yelling out the car windows that: “The war is over.” It didn’t mean much to this eight-year old at the time. I was probably just thinking: “Oh goodie, that tasty Fleer’s Double Bubble will be available again at Mason’s Drug Store!”
You know the one…it had comics and fortunes inside. You could blow a bubble so big that it popped and landed on your nose and cheeks. Then you took the gum out of your mouth, used it to remove the gum from your nose and cheeks, then popped it back into your mouth and started chewing and blowing all over again! Fun!
Not long after that, the Masons must have retired or sold the drug store, because a shoe shop soon occupied the space. So, we began taking our shoes to be re-soled, plus all our leather goods in need of repair, to the proprietor, a Mexican man, who was very adept at his craft, and soon fit into the dynamics of the neighborhood.
But it was never quite the same without Mason’s Drug store, our very own “Good Ship Lollipop.”
Sharon Benson Smith is a student in the writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program.