The Neighborhood Drug Store

by Bill Newman

As with other stores, each neighborhood had its own drug store. These stores were independently owned and operated by a pharmacist that usually lived within one block of the store. There were also larger drug stores owned by a large companies, but these were usually in the downtown section or in heavy traffic areas.

The neighborhood drug store did not display any merchandise in the windows. In the windows were show globes. Show globes were large glass globes filled with colored water. They were suspended from the ceiling. Every so often the colored water was changed to a new color. I guess it would have been considered unethical to use any part of the window to promote merchandise.

The pharmacist in each store was often called "Doc." He was not a doctor but did perform such minor functions as removing splinters, taking foreign objects out of eyes, giving medical advise and recommending and dispensing some medicines.

Filling prescriptions as written by a medical doctor meant mixing the various ingredients in the proper amounts. Today it usually means dispensing a prepackaged item. The prescription department held hundreds of bottles of medicines.

I recall "working" in the prescription department of my father's store when I was about 8yrs. old. I would mix salves, package dried raspberries, and assorted pills, all under my fathers watchful eye.

My father was a generous man and extended credit to anyone with a sad story and during the depression there were plenty of them. A business can only run without making money for just so long. Eventually my father's business went "belly up" like so many others of that time.


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