“The Store on the Corner”


When we moved into the duplex, my daughter was just 3 and 1/2. Anyone with small children knows what a pain it is to get them buckled into a car seat, drive to the store, unbuckle, shop and then rebuckle for the ride home. Blessedly, two blocks away there was an all purpose grocery store, Porcelli’s. (pronounced by the way with a c like celery, not a c like cello.)

Porcelli’s at that time in the late 1970’s was not like the corner stores you find today. These days they are likely to stock lottery tickets, 3000 kinds of soft drinks, cigarettes, candy and potato snacks. Not much use to feed a family. In fact, when these are the only available options, the neighborhoods are now designated “food deserts.”

Porcelli’s had a meat department, fresh produce, frozen goods and plenty of canned goods. They also stocked household necessities such as dish soap and toilet tissue. In fact, I could, and often did, do my entire shopping in the little store. We used our trusty little red wagon to haul the food home. They even still delivered to the very elderly neighbors who would either phone in an order or come in person to choose their own groceries. And yes, the long time customers had accounts, kept on a little pad behind the register.

Eventually the neighborhood changed as the majority of people now drove to the large supermarkets. By the time we moved away from the area in 2001, Porcelli’s too had gone over to lottery tickets, hot potato slices and beer. Still, while it lasted, it made life for this single mother much easier. And I was very grateful for those diehard Italians. Even if they pronounced their name with an American accent!


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