Friday, January 21, 2011

December 1936

In December 1936, Asimov's father sold his third candy store and bought his fourth. The new store was at 174 Windsor Place, in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, about 4.8 miles southwest of Decatur Street.

It was further west than any other home the Asimovs had ever lived in, and just two short blocks from Prospect Park.

Asimov says in his biography tht it was this store that he remembered best. It was in the middle of the street.

"When one entered the door, one found a store broader (left and right) than it was deep. Near the left wall was the cigar counter, with the cash register at the end away from the door. The cash register marked the nerve center of the store, and my father was usually behind it, and a little to the left, where a bare patch of counter was the place where money was handed in and and change handed out.

On the wall behind the cash register were the vertical slots in which packs of cigarettes were kept in a definite order. In those days, all cigarettes were regulars, there were no king-size, no filter tips. The individual packs cost 13 cents, except for a few "mavericks" that cost 10 cents. They also sold individual cigarettes for a penny a piece.

At right angles to the cigar counter was the candy counter, laden with a variety of penny candies in three rows, each in its open box. There was a fourth row on top where the candy bars were kept, a nickel a piece for "wealthy kids."

It was the candy counter that was Asimov's job at each of these stores.

Next to the candy counter was a small aisle, and across from it, in the right half of the store, was that "vanished piece of Americana," the soda fountain. There was the refridgerator with its large cylindrical containers of ice cream, the containers of various syrups, which could be pumped in squirts into glasses and over ice crream, the electric stirrers that made the malted milks, the faucets out of which carbonated water wuld emerge, the platform for clean glassware, and the sink for watching the dirty glassware.

This was Asimov's father's domain.

On the right wall was the magazine stand, which, of course, Asimov knew by nheart.

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