Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Life with Fred and Lucy-part two-Security


The last time I posted about life with Fred and Lucy, I promised to tell you how we managed the security for our grocery store. If you think the C.I.A. was good at spying on people, then you should have known Fred. My father and mother were both OCD, especially about being robbed.
                  Our Grocery Store at 15th and Porter Streets

The grocery store was a family business and everyone was put to work. Along with the canned foods, dairy products and luncheon meats, my parents sold penny candies, loose potato chips and loose pretzel sticks. This was in the early fifties and you  were given a small paper bag to fill with candy, chips or pretzels.
Most people were honest, but every once in a while a group of strangers (kids from another neighborhood) would come in and steal the candy. They would do this every few days and this drove my father bat shit crazy.
You didn’t make a lot of money owning a store and the profits were earned a penny at a time. What did Fred do? My sister Jane, me and, my three cousins, Anthony, Jerry and Michael became Fred's front line of defense.
Acting every bit like General George Patton, my father prepared his own version of the Battle of the Bulge. The only difference was the bulge we would be fighting was the stuffed pockets of the teenaged boys stealing our candy. It was a brilliant plan! My father installed a buzzer that would buzz on all three floors: 2nd, 1rst, and basement. No matter where his workers were, we would hear that stinking buzzer.

                                                    I hated that buzzer!
Anyway, when he pressed the buzzer, we kids would drop whatever we were doing and run to our secret observation points: I hid behind the pasta shelf, peeking through the boxes where I could grab hold of the thief’s hand in mid-theft. Jane had the potato bin where she was in charge of tossing potato grenades at the enemy; 
Cousin Anthony stood at the door to prevent the hoodlums' escape while cousins Jerry and Michael stood in front of the penny candy display. It was a success!! Word spread throughout the neighborhood, and soon ,the teenaged thieves stopped raiding the store. My father’s ‘Battle of the Candy Bulge’ was so successful, that the other neighborhood grocery stores adopted the buzzer weapon.
My mother never had to resort to the buzzer, because all the neighborhood kids were afraid of her. She had a wicked stare.
Next episode: How we became secret agents


  1. What an interesting story! And you know what? I even get all the references you threw in there!

    1. Thank you Jack. It was hard working in the store and I think it was the main cause that my parents broke up, but it was an education in life that I don't regret and everything I write about Fred & Lucy is absolutely true. We were the original Adams family:)

  2. Great piece, Marie. Love reading about the store and your family, especially you.

    1. Thank you, Dawn. There were things going on that now that I'm older, can laugh about it.