At first I thought it said "Beer". But it could be "Ben's"?
What was this place? A bar way way out in the country that came to life on Saturday nights with loud music, boisterous young men, lively dancing, pretty girls in swirly-swishing skirts and cold beer? Folks in the crunchy gravel "parking lot" sitting outside on a muggy Carolina summer night, swatting at the "skeeters" and taking a break from the sweaty dancing.
Maybe back in the forties there was a small bar inside, a piano where someone could pound out the tunes like
"boogie woogie bugle boy of company "B" and "don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but Me", and a smallish dance floor where couples could lindy-hop and jitter-bug--- hug and sway to the music and dream their dreams before the men were shipped out to war?
Or maybe this was a little auto repair shop? A place to buy new tires and get your brakes worked on?
A "fillin" station? Where you could take a rest from the long road and purchase not only gas but an ice cold "Co-Cola" and a pack of salty Tom's peanuts or cheese crackers. There were big maps to buy and maybe lots of colorful free brochures with exotic pictures on them of places like Myrtle Beach, Cypress Gardens and Brookgreen Gardens.
The attendant would check the air in your tires, pump your gas, clean your windshield and collect your money and even thank you for your business.
Perhaps it was a little beauty shop where the ladies would keep their "standing appointment" every Friday at ten a.m. for a wash and set? Where hair was rolled on "rollers" and then ladies sat underneath big old fashioned heavy plastic hair dryers that GOT SO HOT and burned the back of your neck.
Then your hair was "back-combed" "teased" "ratted" with a "rat-tail comb" and then smoothed and smoothed and smoothed some more until just right....then "spray-netted" with the heavy sticky lacquer from a can. Way way back we called it "spray-net"--now it's known as hairspray of course.
There was a cooler full of ice cold Dr. Peppers and RC colas and Pepsi colas--take your pick and hang on tight to your little cold glass bottle as you carefully and slowly guide it around the little maze in the big cooler until you get it to the place where you take your bottle out and then use that attached bottle opener to get that top OFF--so you could get that nice long cold drink.
There was always a coffee pot percolator brewing too, and a few mugs sitting on the counter, along with a sugar bowl of little bright pink envelopes and an extra large economy size jar of coffemate creamer. Somewhat tattered copies of Photoplay, TV Mirror, Silver Screen, Glamour, and Ingenue were in stacks next to all the chairs and the air was thick with the smell of "permanent", and the floaty white haze of Salems and Kools.
Maybe it was a small neighborhood pony-keg?
A place to run into on the way home from work to buy a half gallon of milk, a newspaper and a copy of Look magazine, a six pack, a dozen eggs, a glass jar of Sanka and a few cans of cat food.
It could've been a small little country grocery?
Where ladies, armed with colorful little beaded change purses jangling with change and small folders full of coupons would arrive once a week to do their "grocery-ing". They would carry cartons and cartons of empty glass Pepsi and Coke bottles to the customer service counter to get their refund money back on the bottles, which they usually applied to the grocery bill that day. Moms in cotton shorts or pedal pusher pants and sleeveless blouses wandered up and down the store aisles, choosing what they needed and what was on their weekly lists to make meat loaf, Shake and Bake Chicken, tuna casseroles, and salmon cakes. Sometimes new babies cried and sometimes you would run into friends and you would stop and visit, sipping on a Tab, while smoking together and then looking for a big floor model ash tray somewhere in the soup aisle. New items like Pillsbury Space Sticks and Hawaiian Punch and Bugles snacks might make it into the buggy.
|photo from internet|
Going through the lines took longer. People called "checkers" tallied up your groceries item by item, nothing "rang up" or was "scanned". It took longer, but people were sure friendlier and more patient. Your weekly checker probably knew you, of you, or your children--and she probably knew you would have that ten cent coupon for the D-Zerta low calorie gelatin dessert or the five cents off for the Sugar Pops cereal.
Even small children learned to be patient by sitting in the grocery buggy and being quiet and nicely behaved while Mommy shopped---and if you DID BEHAVE you most surely would receive that coveted pack of rainbow Chic-lets or that Little Golden Book at the cash register. By the way cash registers were actually full of cash!-- LOL! Most people took their cash to the grocery store and the drug store and the butcher and the shoe store and the hardware store. There definitely weren't debit cards and nobody paid for groceries with credit cards, very seldom did people even write checks but if they did, sometimes they would write your license number and your phone on the check.
Maybe this was a little out of the way diner?
Where you could order a bowl of vegetable soup served with a half dozen of those little crackly clear cellophane crackers packets and maybe a melty grilled cheese sandwich?
How about the "blue plate" special with meatloaf and mashed "taters" with good brown gravy and a slice of white bread for an early supper?
A place where you could still get a good tuna or old fashioned egg salad sandwich served with "tater" chips and a crunchy sour pickle and a cup of good strong coffee for your weekday lunch--from the plant, from the office, from the school, from the store, from the hospital.
This was a place where the waitresses still wore crisp little caps on their heads, their hair neatly tucked into hair nets underneath those caps, and handkerchiefs pinned like pretty "special day" corsages onto their cotton dress uniforms--which more than likely had a nicely starched apron over it.
Places like this had old fashioned heavy glass pedestal cake stands stacked high with donuts, dark chocolate cake slabs and carrot cake slices. Guaranteed there would be slices of lemon and butterscotch pie piled high with glossy browned meringue.
I can see many things this little place might've been, underneath the heat and the layers of dirt and the bugs and passage of time and weather and tenacious vines that now engulf it.
So...what do y'all think the mystery building is?