Friday, August 22, 2008

Latest on Tropical Storm Fay, by Nancy Taylor Wright

Anyone that wants to see pictures of what we are experiencing all across Central Florida now with this storm and all the VAST flooding that it is doing, you can go to Channel 6 CBS locally here and see it all.

It is really so bad, and still have another couple of days of rain before it is out of our total area here, and then we have the situation of where all the flood waters in the neighborhoods go after -- to the St John's River and others -- flooding will happen all over again.

I am so over this, as well as everyone else here! I have cabin fever and I miss the sun! And my computer room office is leaking all across the ceiling in different spots -- my one leak has turned into many!



Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Pencil Behind My Ear,By Evelyn Taylor

Years ago a grocery clerk always had a pencil parked behind an ear. This was to take orders and add up columns of prices of items purchased.

My introduction to this job was at Taylor’s Superette in Le Roy during World War II in 1944. My father-in-law, D. Floyd Taylor, made his Main St. grocery store into a combination of full-service and self-service before supermarkets had become common.

There was no scanner of bar code or cash registers that printed a detailed account of items and told the cashier what change to give. It was necessary to be able to add long columns of prices and to make correct change. The latter required counting the change out loud to the customer. If the bill was $3.79 and a $5 bill was given, you counted the $1.21 change by saying: $3.79- 10cents is $3.89, 10 cents is $3.99,1 cent is $4.00 and 1$ is $5.00.

In the meantime, to insure there was no chance of the customer saying she had given you a larger bill than the five dollars, you placed the $5 bill on the ledge of the cash register until the change had been made and then it was placed in the drawer.

A clerk needed to be able to add long columns of items quickly. You put the prices on a large paper bag and added the column twice—adding down and then adding up. Hopefully, the results were the same.

Math was also important when you weighed an item for the customer as it was up to you to figure out what ¾ of a pound would be if a pound cost $1.79. There were no automatic scales that spitted out a printed label with weight and final price on it.

The clerk helped people find items on the shelves, weighed up bulk cookies and fresh produce, cut cheese from a large cheese wheel, cut butter from a large round of butter and weighed them. Then the clerk became the cashier for that customer.

And because this store was in a village and rural area, farmers came in on Saturday night to shop and share news of the week. They would bring in their baskets of eggs for credit, and the duty of counting them carefully was the clerk’s. Saturday night was busy and lively with talk of weather, crops, and news.

There was personal interaction between the customer, store- owner, and clerks. You knew the customers by name and did everything possible to help and please them. Much has been lost in the transition from the era of Taylor’s Superette to the electronic supermarket of today’s Wegmans.

Picture One: Eve and Dene Taylor, Delivering groceries in 1945

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandpa T


AUG. 5, 1892-1969

It was a Saturday night and Daddy had made a humungeous pan of popcorn. The next step was for him to carefully pour a sweetened thickened syrup over it as one of us carefully rotated the pan. Then we all greased our hands with lard and grabbed handfulls to squeeze into pocorn balls. Experience gained from making snowballs made this easy.

Now, if we were lucky, he continued on to cooking taffy. When boiled to the proper stage he poured it into a greased pie plate and as it cooled enough to handle, gave us each a portion to work, once again with greased hands. Well, greased or larded, as this stuff was hot at first! The main job here was to pull the lump between your two hands, stretch it out, fold it back upon itself and start again, the object being to incorporate air into the mass. The more stretch, the more air, the whiter the taffy.

Do I even need to tell you that Daddy’s and Mamma’s were white as snow, Arnon’s almost, Ruth’s too pretty good, down to Harold’s and mine. Our’s never rose above a sickly yellow! When enough elasticity had been achieved and it had cooled, you greased your kitchen shears and snipped it into one inch pieces. If you were clever, and had stretched it to thin strands, you might even braid three together for an artistic look. All these pieces rested together on the greased pan, until hard and cool to the touch, we were allowed to eat some.

Popcorn balls and taffy, the culmination of a good evening. It must have carried memories for Momma and Daddy too as taffy pulling evenings were common in their courting days.

Picture One: Lloyd 1912
Picture Two: Lloyd & Ethel on their 50th wedding Anniv. Sept 1965