I always loved Murphy’s.  It had a little bit of everything, was never inside a mall, and had the very best lunch counter EVER!  It had glass cases filled with pies, ice cream sundaes piled with whipped cream, sodas in large plastic glasses, and servers dressed in neat little uniforms.  They called you names like Hun (short for honey), sweetie, and sugar.  Such a fine start on a sweet treat after the meal. 

The food never took too long and you could watch the man at the grill make it for you while you were waiting.  It was greasy, it was smothered in gravy, or it was prepared in butter.  Ah, bliss! 

When we hit the door of the local Murphy’s we would make a beeline for the candy aisle.  We were able to get any candy bar we wanted to save for a treat for later along with a little toy.  One one outing my little brother challenged me to steal a candy bar.  Mom had let us go unattended on this journey.  Not wanting to look like a chump, I did it.  I thought that the footsteps behind me were my little brother, but as soon as I put it in my pocket, the manager who was RIGHT behind me laid his hand on my shoulder and said come with me.  My little brother bolted out the front door. 

He asked where my Mother was and I said that she was at a very important meeting and could not be disturbed!  (I lied.)  He then lectured me about stealing and then made me pay for the candy bar he was keeping and then told me that I was never allowed in the store again!  Horrors as every other Friday Mom took us there for dinner at the lunch counter. 

I made up so many excuses for not going with them that we eventually picked another place to go to as Mom thought I had grown tired of the place.  Thankfully, Tommy never squealed on me!  He knew if he squealed on me that I, in turn, would return the squealing favor! 

It was a full 15 years before I set foot in a Murphy’s again.  Sadly, it was for their liquidation as they were closing.  By that time the lunch counter was closed, the grill long since turned off, and the ice cream sundaes long since served.  It is sad that all of the places that hold the greatest childhood memories are gone.  Remember Montgomery Ward’s skippers (tennis shoes), the bargains at Two Guys, or for the Richmonders Miller and Rhodes or Thalhimer’s?  I moved here long after they were gone, but still see their clothes, furs, hats and purses at the local thrift shops. 

What store do you miss the most?

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