At the age of fifteen I went to work at a drug store for the summer. In those days there was a soda fountain with stools, all upholstered in red leather and tucked under a counter of the same color. The drug store sold a small variety of hygiene products, everything from shampoo to foot powder, candy bars to ice cream, plus plenty of more personal items.
Mostly, I worked behind the soda fountain. I know you’ve seen them in the movies if not for real. I learned how to make floats, ice cream sodas, milkshakes and sundaes with little trouble. The job was fun, gave me some pocket money beyond the dollar allowance from my folks, and when cute boys came in I could flirt with them. I’m afraid I was a shameful flirt.
I watched Jane Russell on the silver screen and learned to flip my long blonde hair just like she did her auburn tresses. Now, if only I’d been endowed like she was. However, it was probably a good thing I wasn’t.
That was the first summer I had a steady boyfriend and he had a car. A 1940 Ford Coupe and he drove like a maniac, tires screaming, black smoke pouring. My dad often complained that he didn’t drive his car, he herded it more or less down the road. I was soon to learn that no boy was good enough for Daddy’s little girl. Little did either of us know that I would one day marry this very boy. As far as Daddy was concerned, it would be over his dead body.
Anyway, back to my story that takes place in the drug store. I did fine even when I had to come out from behind the counter and take money for candy bars or ring up other purchases when the pharmacist was the only other sales person in the store. Things were way different back in the Fifties.
One day an old gentleman, probably at least thirty, came in the store while the pharmacist was busy filling a prescription. He looked around, then came over to me, and giving him credit, I did look older than fifteen, asked for a pack of Trojans. I stared at him for a minute, trying to figure out if that was a brand of cigarettes, maybe cigars. I’d never heard of such a thing.
After a few moments of me digging around trying to find something that said Trojan on it, he realized his faux pau and said he’d get them from the pharmacist. It wasn’t till I told my boyfriend about it that I found out what they were. Turned out he could fill in the blanks real easy, even carried a sample in his billfold. Was I red faced. Sex or anything resembling it was not discussed in our house. That’s pretty much the way it was back then.