I want to offer a giant “thank you” to whoever took it upon themselves to repair the damage done to the Palace Hotel by local vandals. How sad it was to see windows broken and mischief done to an old building that has stood its ground for so many years - untouched until recently when someone decided to break first one window, and then others. I was dismayed, but I didn't do anything but gripe about the injustice. Someone else went beyond mere words and took boards in hand and covered the gaping wounds. You are an angel - whoever you are!
Thinking about the Palace Hotel led me to thinking about Dick Dale which led me to thinking about the Looney Drugstore - that wonderful piece of local history, now but a memory to many of us. Nancy, Heather and I all worked behind the soda fountain counter at different times, as did the Hathaway sisters and so many others throughout the years.
Heather was 13 and I was 11 when we first donned our dresses and stepped behind that counter to mix cokes, floats, ice cream, and serve lots of cups of coffee to local patrons. I can see in living color that place - and the folks whom we served. Here's just a sampling of the daily clientele who walked through that heavy glass door and across that creaky wooden floor. Norma Gene and Bob from the newspaper (I can hear Norma Gene's laugh) and the post office crew consisting of Winton Cox, Jack Parker, Jean Welch, Mrs. Witten, and Mrs. Ferguson. Then the girls from the bank would come in on their break - Elsie Sellers, Reba Killion, and Lanora Hancock were some of them. Each afternoon at the same time a head would come bobbing by the window and there would be Kenny Arnett, ready for his daily milk shake. Clyde and Billy Sappenfield would come across from the Phillips'66 gas station, always sitting on stools at the counter. And then there was Dick Dale - a very old man who used a cane and lived at the Palace Hotel. The story was he was once in vaudeville. His usual fare was my least favorite to serve - clam chowder. But he was always a gentleman and I imagine the drug store and his daily walk there were mainstays in his life. Mrs. Baker (Eileen) was the mainstay behind the soda fountain - how many girls she must have had to teach the ropes to! She took us all under her wing and cracked the whip at the same time. Then there was Jack Peck, our boss. I always had a soft spot for him, because he hired Heather and me when we were way too young for employment, but he knew our family really needed the money - $1.25 an hour, cash in an envelope. His right hand girls were Gerry Sanders and Joy Cochran - who I can still see in a black dress with heels. (Very high dress code back then.) The employees were rounded out by Jack Linderman as the pharmacist, with a very young Jim Weaver helping him out.
How I wish that place still existed! Remember the chrome stools, the green tables, the red and white Coke syrup container, the pointed paper cups that went into the metal cup holders (5 cent drinks), the numerous straws stuck to the ceiling, the saucers that were put beneath every cup of coffee served, the racks of magazines and paperbacks? Remember sitting on a padded stool and spinning round and round while drinking a root beer float, a lime Coke, or a chocolate malt? In the back were glass counters filled with perfumes and jewelry, make-up and watches, all sorts of items, and it was the best place to get a gift for someone because of the beautiful gift wrapping done by Jack, Joy and Gerry. Yes, I remember so many things about the drug store, but most of all I remember the hum of voices and the sound of laughter drifting through the air as friend met friend at that place and at that time. So here's to God's wonderful gift of memory and our shared life in the early 1970's at the Looney Drug!
Boise City News