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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

The Jolly Market: 1965

The Jolly Market: 1965

My father makes change for a couple of my acquaintances in the Jolly Market in Fairfax, California. A year later he retired from full-time employment, but took on part-time work at a couple Marin County supermarkets for a few years thereafter. This being the days before scanners, you'll note the market's latest weekly newspaper ad hanging there for reference. The triangular-shaped gizmo at the upper right corner of it is a trading stamp dispenser, probably Blue Chip. A few years later we were using them at the post office counter to sell postage stamps. Also of interest, conveniently located on the counter adjacent to the razor blades, is a dispenser of do-it-yourself last will & testament forms, thus providing a complete impulse buy solution for the customers. Finally, at no extra charge, hilarity-inducing facial expressions. A somewhat underexposed, fluorescent-illuminated available light Kodachrome that I boosted and color-corrected.

Suburb of Minneapolis

In the 50s we shopped not in the city but suburbs and I know you could smoke there (don't know if the city was different}. But it was nice because my parents knew the owners of the grocery store, drug store and hardware store. Probably the liquor store also. Small town values. You know everyone. Different world now.

Another great pic from tterrace and Shorpy!!!!!

Like

I love most of the "Tterrace Collection," but this is one of my favorites in awhile. Great candid and a slice of life. I don't know why you thought to take shots like this at the time, but I'm glad you did. And also glad that you're scanning and sharing them now.

DanV, it's nice to see another Nebraskan on here. I also grew up in a small, rural town in that lovely state. By my time, the two grocery stores were open every night until 8:00 (except Sundays), but the rest of the downtown stores continue the practice of staying open late on Thursday night to this day. I wonder how Thursday got to be the "late night."

Finally, the comments on smoking in stores and banks blow my mind. Growing up in the '90s (yes, I know, please let me stay anyway), smoking had already been banned from most places except for restaurants and bars. In fact, strange as it sounds, it has never before occurred to me that people might have smoked in grocery stores or banks! Many of these pictures make me wish I could see what life was like in earlier eras (if only for a little bit), but this is one area I think undoubtedly improved!

Looks to me like

Eugene Levy checking out Winona Ryder and Arnold Palmer.

"Hugging"

Sorry, Dave, that was because Swype couldn't understand the word "Going".... trouble with using a cellphone to send comments.

Smoking in the grocery store

One of my earliest memories is of being brushed by a man's burner in the grocery store aisle. This must have been 1971 or 72.

Going down to Jolly's.

I know of the second "Jolly's" that you speak. It was the store we would shop at, unless you decided to head for that new Safeway store the was in San Anselmo, and now a post office.

Actually, back then, it was hard to tell the difference between where anyone was from in the surrounding communities. There were enclaves of very wealthy, and the no so well to do. However, the well to do never really flaunted their wealth, and drove cars and dressed their children like most everyone did. Compare that to today's situation and attitudes in the same locale, and I'd wager ever your father would have a hard time holding his tongue. I know I do.

Some Jolly Answers

To my knowledge, Father never had to deal with robbers, and while I don't recall him talking about drunks or shoplifters, he undoubtedly had experiences with both in his 40+-year grocery career. When he worked at another Jolly store that was located adjacent to one of Marin County's most upscale neighborhoods, he sometimes came home speaking of being riled and having to bite his tongue when dealing with some of that area's more imperious clientele. But he was an old-school pro all the way; I can't imagine him ever losing his cool with a customer, any more than he would have with anybody at any time for that matter. He did, however, sometimes express disappointment when others he worked with, both in management and labor, did not exhibit the kind of professionalism he had always brought to the job, both as a store owner and employee. You know, the younger generation and all that.

In answer to ImpressionsInWatercolor's question, he never was a pharmacist.

As for my two acquaintances, they were themselves merely acquaintances, not a couple.

Finally, let's credit Dave with some further tweaking that brought more oomph to my scan.

Smoking in the 1960s

Do you remember if customers were allowed to smoke in grocery stores back in the day?

I can't speak for the USA but being a teenager (in Australia) in the 1960s (I was born in 1945) I can tell you that the only places in which smoking was forbidden (not by law but my social standards) were churches.

So seeing someone light up in a bank/grocery store/milkbar/cafe/ etcetera was common and not even deserving of a second glance.

After all, back then smoking only stunted your growth if you were a youngster.

Enjoying the moment

Your dad looks like a true gentleman tterrace and this image begs the question, what are they buying? They look slightly embarrassed and amused at the same time. Your dad has that "Not now son" look.

The stories of times past are also very interesting. Thanks Shorpians.

Bar codes

Every packaged product in the late '70s had a bar code, but few people seemed to have any idea what for, since scanners were not yet in evidence. They were the perennial butt of jokes in Mad Magazine; one cover had Alfred E. Neuman cutting a line of them with a lawnmower.

I don't actually remember seeing anyone smoke in a supermarket, but one of my earliest memories is of reaching down to pick up a butt in the aisle, out of curiosity, since no one in my family smoked, and I wasn't sure what it was. Of course my mother told me to put it down because it was dirty. This would have been in the early '70s. I do remember seeing ashtrays atop the posts that held the velvet ropes in the bank, well into the '80s. Indoor smoking was of course verboten by that time, but the accoutrements remained.

Dad !!!

As another reader noted, your dad resembles his dad in this photo. Your dad looks like my dad in every photo you print so much so that my first thought on seeing him would be "A second family! Not working out of town, like he said!"

My dad's face was fuller, but otherwise a ringer. I thought the resemblance might be the same region in Italy, but subsequently you named his town and it was not the same as my dad. You and I however, look nothing remotely alike.

Was this dad's store where he had been a pharmacist? [my apology. Dad was never a pharmacist]

Speaking of scanners

I get a kick out of looking through Reader's Digests that came out around the time I graduated high school (1979). Just for giggles, I pulled a 20 cent off coupon for soup out of one a few weeks back and took it to Safeway, mostly to see the cashier's reaction upon realizing it expired 10 years before she was born. The lack of a barcode didn't even OCCUR to me but she must've turned it over and back 20 times looking for it. It completely overwhelmed the poor kid's sense of How Things are Supposed to Work and that ended up making me feel terrible. She never did notice the expiration date.

At First Glance

If I didn't know better, it looks like the customer feels he's been short changed.

Introduction to Italian

Tterrace, I don't know how you wound up with the nickname "termite." Especially with your family's Italian heritage, I'm surprised your friends and family didn't call you "Paparazzi."

Butts in the fruits and veggies

Yeah, people could smoke in the grocery. I remember, as a kid in Southern California around 1970, going to the store to get an orange or apple for a snack. While picking one out I noticed that unthinking individuals used to toss their butts right into the fruit and veggie bins. I guess the produce folks had to do the butt removal as well as restacking the fruit. Yuck!

Smoking In The Store

My first "real" job was bagging groceries at the local supermarket in the early '70s. At least in small town Nebraska, smoking was certainly permitted inside the store. We had ashtray stands at the end of every aisle, and a couple times per shift someone had to go up & down the aisles and sweep up cigarette butts. No scanners - each item was individually priced, either with a rubber stamp or a sticker gun. And we closed promptly at 6 every night, an hour later than the downtown shops - except on Thursdays, when every store in town stayed open till 9 and the farmers came to town to shop. It really was a different world.

I'm with the Bills

BdgBill is right that a photo you probably barely noticed at the time has aged very well, and RGMBill is right that the man wouldn't look out of place 45 years later, while the woman's dress is, well, severely retro.

There is so much going on in this photo. Why is the older man with the younger woman? Why does she have a flower behind her ear? Why is she looking at your father so intently? A great slice of life photo that is thought-provoking nearly a half-century later.

A Trip to the Store

This was during my formative years, and I always liked going to the grocery store (Food Fair). The gumball machines, the electric door at entrance, the big Toledo scale, the Coke machine, and the candy racks at the register (Life Savers, Wrigley's Spearmint, Doublemint) were highlights. If I was really lucky, there would also be a stop at the gas station (Cities Service).

Did your dad ever have to deal with shoplifters, drunks or robbers? I'm sure he encountered his share of characters.

Ordinary Photos Age Well

You probably barely gave this shot a look when it was first processed. Almost nobody would have found this to be an interesting photo when it was first shot but as images like this age, they get more and more interesting.

I really enjoy these occasional mid to late 20th century photos here on Shorpy. Keep them coming.

Do you remember if customers were allowed to smoke in grocery stores back in the day? I seem to remember my mother smoking while walking the aisles of our local Stop n Shop back in the early '70s but she strenuously denies this.

8:24 pm

Hugging by your dad's watch.

The man could have stepped into the supermarket here today and no one would look twice. The girl -- well, fashions have changed, although folks might still look at her twice.

["Hugging"? If you say so. - Dave]

Double Take

Wow! I had to do a double take with this photo. Though your dad appears to be shorter in height than my dad, your father looks just like my dad in this photo. Maybe it is his expression, or the shape of his face and nose, and the glasses, but your father, in this picture, could almost pass for my dad. I have not seen such a similarity to my dad in other pictures of your father though.

Dad seems to be thinking

Everywhere I go that kid of mine is taking my picture.

Great photo, something about old Supermarkets gives me a very nostalgic feeling.

I can remember going to the Safeway back around 1963-64 and being fascinated by the Coffee aisle, they had a grinder then and you ground your own beans, great stuff for a four year old boy.

I can remember the music too, or maybe it was Muzak, dreary instrumental stuff with lots of muted horns.

Service With A Smile

I must admit that although we enjoy amazing conveniences and ease of living these days, the old time personal service could not be beat. If you have tried to use those "self-checkout" lanes in most big markets these days, you will see that in almost every instance a manager/cashier must be called over anyway (with further delays) because the sale price did not scan or coupons could not be used or for any other number of glitches that were wrongly programmed. As for "impulse item space" at the checkout, that was always a hot property for manufacturers to win for their product. I worked for Bic Pen in the 60's and they would do anything for that point of sale display as did Gillette Blue blades. Years later, when I had kids, they would desperately want to spend their entire allowance before we left any store and were buying TV Guides, gum, nail clippers, etc. just anything to use up their $2. This photo is wonderful and totally realistic, a blast from the past, I love it. Thank you Shorpy and tterrace.

Cute Couple

I bet those two were fun beyond belief.

 
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