April 22, 2005
If you grew up in southside Savannah during the 1960s you knew about Wyndam's Market and Maycrest Hardware. Wyndam's Market was on the corner of Whitefield Avenue and Montgomery Crossroad before they cut they new road through on Water's Avenue years later.
Old Man Wyndam was a crotchety old bastard who didn't like kids in his store. He always was convinced in HIS mind that you were in there to steal something from him, and he watched you like a hawk. I had a newspaper route and I had money at the time. I talked Mr. Wyndam into stocking two extra cases of football cards every month so that I could buy both cases.
They cost $1.00 a case. I bought two every month for a couple of years. He finally came to like me and didn't treat me like shit anymore. But he died and his family sold the store and the land it rested on to the Catholic Church next door. It all belongs to St. James Cathedral now. I missed the old man, but I was finished collecting football cards by then.
Maycrest Hardware was one hell of a store. It was run by a crabby old jew (I didn't know what a jew was back then, but my father often gave me some obscure piece of hardware and said, "Ride your bike down to Maycrest Hardware. See if the old jew has one of these.") and I don't think I EVER struck out. I would hand him the part I wanted, he would walk right to some dusty shelf and match it up.
I don't know how he ever found ANYTHING in that place, because it resembled a junk-pile, with stuff stacked everywhere, but he never missed. He didn't like kids, either, but he damn sure had a fine hardware store. He's dead now, too.
You just don't see stores like those anymore.
Yeah, but now we have Lowes and Home Depot filled with morons.
Ace Hardware is marginally better.
We had a little store us kids used to go in the early 60's. Everyone called it "the county farm" I think it was a retirement home for anyone. There was a little store in a small building, about the size of two jail cells and an oblivious old guy that ran it. Us kids would go there and buy a ten cent hershey bar and "swipe" a pack of lucky strikes and go smoke them under the creek bridge. Slap me if I'm wrong, would go back to the 60's in a second. Another reason for suicide. murry
One thought: try Wu's Hardware on Wilmington Island. My dad would say "See if the Chinaman has this fucker". And he always would.
Actually, my wife works in one of those hardware stores. It's unchanged since 1890, with wooden drawers and shelves, glass display cases full of screws, tools, any hardware you can imagine. Muellers in downtown Hammond Indiana may be the last of a dying breed. And it was "go see if the Kraut has one of these"
we had a hardware store like that called Shadwick's Hardware (long gone now). It was housed in a building that must've been over 100 years old and they had anything you could imagine. I loved hunting around in there and I loved the old worn creaky southern pine floor so much that I duplicated it throughout my own house when I built it.
I really really miss stores like Shadwick's.
Oh, Memory Lane.
Here in Alexandria, we had John Ward's and Charlie Panzica's Hardware. Two magnificent hardware stores, across the street from one another. If one didn't have it, the other one did, and they'd refer customers to each other. Dad would go to Wards, and Mr. Ward would say "Cholly has those, across the street."
Mr. Panzica died in the early '80s and the store died with him. I heard that his kids sold store, inventory, and fixtures for $10,000. It was probably worth a dozen times that much.
Watson's in Milford, Michigan. Been there forever.
The youngest Mr. Watson, was middle-aged in the '70's.
I was just starting in those days, and had to fix everything in the house myself. Once in a great while, Mr. Watson couldn't find something in the tables and shelves and cabinets and piled cartons of stuff on the main floor. He'd say, "Back in a minute, yell if a customer comes in". And disappear down hellishly steep stairs into a dungeon. And eventually return with "whatever". He never failed me on plumbing or hardware stuff.
Best of all, after paying cash and getting a hand-written yellow ticket, I'd say "got any advice"? He'd take the piece in hand, and start. I listened well because I knew somewhere in the story was the trick needed to avoid a diaster by a newbie.
That man is now gone. I don't live there anymore, but I wish he did.
Dux Mixture, in Atlanta. Had *everything*. Oh, and Smith Ace in Decatur used to be good before they got all modern. I betcha you can't find anything with Whitworth threads at WalMart!