The first time that we saw the sign, we were travelling to Clarion on Route 80 in 1982, enroute to my interview for the intermediate unit ( BOCES for those of you in New York State). We were passing by DuBois ( that’s DEWBOISE for outsiders) and looked at a sign that was off the road. It was advertising the Johnson Insurance Company and Baseball Trading Cards. We both had to do a double take to see that it was not two different stores. It was not. When we lived in Clarion for a while, we actually saw the place and it was true. What better place to sell baseball trading cards than in an insurance office.

That was our first clue that we were not living in an urban area. Understand that in many rural areas, the location of stores is far away from where folks live, When you go to town, you want everything to be in one place. I am not talking about the old west, but just small towns across the country.
Yes, there are shopping malls around and about, maybe an hour drive in the cold of the winter, but most of the stores are in places like Clarion, New Bethlehem, Oil City, Franklin, Punxy, Titusville and the like. There is a certain economy to having a number of different kinds of stores in one. Since fishing is a big avocation in rural areas, and bait shops thrive, why not have other things in the shop to attract another kind of customer who might like to go with her husband? So, we have a bait shop, tackle shop and a tanning salon.

There is a certain congruity to having a trash collection service attached to the local mortician’s establishment. It adds something to the dignity to the atmosphere if one can also have a recycle component to the trash collection.

One that always gets me going is the idea of a pastry ( or bake) shop where you can also buy ammunition. I still cannot put those two together, unless you can shoot a deer and then inhale a half dozen jelly donuts.

Speaking donuts, one can always get some good pastry, ham and eggs in the morning at the True Value Hardware Store in Titusville. If you go through the store, you will see a luncheonette at the rear.

The all time champions are in a tiny tiny town called Foxburg. Foxburg is actually the home of the oldest continuous golf course in the United States. It is only nine holes and should have been the place where the Golf Hall of Fame should have gone. Another Pennsylvanian took it to North Carolina. Thanks Mr. Palmer.
The establishment that I am talking about is an emporium that was the site for boat rentals ( the river was right across the street), tax preparation, tanning salon and video rentals. I am sure that some bright person in the area of word associations can put all of those together.


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