When I was growing up, my grandmother owned a variety store. At least once a week after I started going to school in town, I would go to Grandma's shop after school and spend the afternoon and evening there before spending the night at her place. It was with grandma that I watched my first opera and was hooked, and where I learned how to crochet lace doilies. But it was the shop that captured my imagination! I loved operating the old, heavy cash register. Grandma always had a black thumb from where she's close it on herself in her rush to help the next customer. She had an old dog, Penny, who used to sleep in the cluttered office area, and I would do my homework there, with Penny as my tutor, before hanging out on the floor of the shop. It was a treasure trove! It was a dark, den of a place, and you could find virtually anything there, if you looked hard enough. From school supplies, novelty toys, candy and sewing and knitting supplies to crystal, china, and jewelry--all were on display.
When she retired, everything was brought to my mom's house to be stored in the basement, and then a few years later, when Grandma moved and mom sold her house and moved to Grandma's old place, all the stock was stored in an old shed at mom's, where it sort of mouldered away a bit. It was almost like Grandma couldn't bear to part with it. Finally Mom donated anything that could be salvaged to a local organization to be sold. What fun it was to go through everything and choose something that we would like from the store! These sterling silver and jade ear rings are a treasure that remind me of Grandma, who passed away about three years ago, and the fun times we had together at Dot's Variety Shop.