In “the old days,” schools and Mom and Pop groceries went hand-in-hand.
At Hutton Elementary in the late 1950s, we had Palen’s (Fifth Street) on the way home and Rubow’s (8th and Santa Fe) just a little farther. Then two blocks from home there was Hudson’s (11th and Santa Fe.)
At Chanute High School in the late 1960s, Anderson’s was a block north of the school on Highland.
And at Royster Junior High in the mid-1960s, it was Stevenson’s, a half block east of the school on Main.
That’s the story for today.
The building that served oh, so many reasonably priced burgers, drinks and penny candy to oodles of teeny boppers, and later was a daycare called Kids World in the 1970s, was torn down this week.
With that, a ton of memories were sparked.
Lisa Chauncey, whose mother Verla Jones operated Kids World, lamented the loss of the local landmark that previously was the home of Stevenson’s Grocery.
“I know generations of Chanute kids have fond memories of getting lunchtime hamburgers there (the best), buying penny candy, and looking at comic books. I feel a twinge every time I see one of those old buildings go down ... It takes decades to build character and memories.
“Our birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings, first dates, new babies, anniversaries, graduations, sleepovers for our childhoods/teen years are all tied to that house.
But it was always there and it was home.”
Here are a sampling of some comments made about Stevenson’s on Facebook:
Bruce Ward: The menu was Ham Sandwich, Cheese Sandwich, Hamburger, Chile Con Carne and Fried Egg Sandwich.
John Hunt: I went home for lunch, but I got every kind of candy, waxed product (lips, moustaches), cinnamon toothpicks, sunflower seeds, etc. (and smokes later at a quarter a pack) the store offered.
Suzy McNeal Luellen: I was a happy camper when I occasionally got to eat there 1951-54, instead of going home for lunch. 15 cent hamburgers, chips and a bottle of pop were 5 cents each.
Cheryl Wicker: The place to go for lunch in Jr High. Great burgers!
Susan Parks Ostrander: So sad. I took a lot of pop bottles to Stevenson’s in trade for penny candy. The hamburgers (were) the best!
David Masters: I used to go there every break I got from Royster and buy candy or munch food back in 1956.
Donna Collins Stout: I remember taking forever to pick 5 pieces of penny candy, and getting a bottle of orange pop from the cooler. Wonderful memories!
Shirley Hummer Bailey: I ate lunch there every day in 9th grade.
Thomas Cloke: Burger, long john and coke for $.50 cents plus a dime deposit on pop bottle.
Cathy Ogden: I went there as a kid when it was a neighborhood store, and decades later my son spent his childhood days there in Kids World.
John Bowes: Wow...that was my “ground zero” for penny candy for many years!