After a decade of working for the Georgia Roads Department, my grandfather, Charles Venson Driskell, opened a small grocery store across the street from their home on Dubose Avenue in Athens. I never thought to ask if he built it or bought it from another owner.
Grandpapa died on my first birthday. So my only connections with him come from holding his faded pictures and going to the little store.
Years later, the store was owned by his youngest son, Dennis, and his wife, Mae. Some of my fondest memories are the times I “surprised” Uncle Dennis and Aunt Mae on our summer vacations from Miami to Athens. I remember the big glass jars of penny candy and bubble gum. A big barrel of dill pickles stood near the front counter. I was amazed to see bologna sold by the slice instead of in a package!
The screen door squeaked when it was opened and slammed when it shut. The old wooden floorboards were worn and uneven in spots. The National cash register looked like something in an antique magazine.
The last time we visited in 2003, the store was no longer there. But my memories are just as vivid as if I was once again a little girl walking through those front doors.
Today I found a faded old photo of the outside of my grandfather’s store! But meanwhile…I can still “see” every crack in the old wooden floor and every piece of penny candy in the jar inside his store!