Gary Strader/gStrader Photography

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Way It Was, And PR Moore

In thinking back to my childhood days;I was remembering how much better food taste then now...
 (How can that be, remembering anything like that ? ) 

It was the cold war back then,we drilled in school filing to the hall ways and kneeling down and tucking our head and covering our eyes, in the case the Russians bombed us. (like that was going to save us.) It was overall an innocent time.

Life was very different then,not at all like it is today. Kids had no TV games, there were no FaceBook, and kids had chores to do. We would go outside and play our games were "Army", "Cowboys, and Indians", "Hopscotch","Hide and Seek","Red Rover", "Baseball", and "Football".

We rode our bikes, and we rode our skateboards. Skateboards back then were not the fancy fiberglass ones with flashy graphics like now;but instead they were home made with a piece of wood (2x4, or 4x8) with roller skate wheels nailed on underneath. 

My earliest memories from those times were when my Dad had his "payday" usually on Thursdays, we would all be loaded up in one of his cars, and we would go to town. 

Dad was a Buick man, he had two of them, a 1949 Buick Roadmaster, and a 1951 Buick Special. The Roadmaster was my favorite car, it was so huge it was like riding in a bus.

So all loaded up in the car, we would go about Dad;s appointed rounds. In the mid 1950s, no one had credit cards, in fact they had not been invented yet. Everything was for the most part paid in full at the time of the sale.

Checking accounts were around then, as my mother and father had one, and they did pay some accounts by check. They paid utilities by either cash, or check. Dad would make his rounds, squaring up with everyone that he owed money to on those Thursday trips.

Usually, one of the first stops we would make was to the service station, to fill up on gasoline. Hey! I remember when the first gas price came along in years. The price rose from 25 cents a gallon, to 29.9 cents a gallon, and a few years later it rose to 35 cents a gallon where it stayed untill well up into the 1960s.

At the service station, we would all pile out and run inside the station, where we would get a 6 cent coke, and a pack of nabs, or candy, while the service station attendants checked the air pressure, and up under the hood, oil and coolant, wash the windows, and fill the car tank with gasoline. Dad would pay the attendant for the gasoline, and our soft drinks, and goodies.

At some point in our long day, we would wind up at the grocery market. In those days, the market was a small neighborhood store, much like todays' convenience stores. 

Mom and Dad had a basic list, which the usually added to when they got to the market. Instead of going about and picking the food out from the shelves; the list was handed to the store clerk, who had the order pulled, and later delivered to the house by a man on a bicycle, or sometimes a small panel truck, if the order was large enough. The market kept a running tab, for the Strader Family, and on payday, Dad would pay his tab, and deliver the weeks grocery order.

The food we had back then was farm fresh, and if it was out of the growing season it came in the form of frozen in small wax paper cartons. Meats were always fresh, and came rolled up by the pound in waxed paper, or sometimes news paper (fish was packed that way).

Our milk was delivered to our door by a milk man, driving a delivery truck, and in the 1950s, the milk, and butter would be placed on the doorstep in a galvanized steel small box cooler. 

The milk came in a thick glass bottle with a cardboard cover over the top, and the bottle held one quart, and we usually got two quarts. on Monday, and Thursday morning early before daybreak.

When I was a child, no one had air conditioning, and summers we always had all the windows, and doors open, day and night. In the 1950s in Winston-Salem, no one even bothered to lock a door, they were just left open, and the only lock was that of a hook that held the screen door in place, so that the insects could not get into the house.

In the beginning of the post I made mention of how much better the food tasted, and it is true. This was because foods were grown fresh, without growth hormones, and brought to the market as the food came in season. Everything was ripe, and fresh. Folks went to the market once or twice a week and picked up fresh produce and prepared it right away. 

 I was reminded of this when I stumbled on a Produce Stand in the small town of Biscoe a few years back, PR Moore Produce. 

From their Facebook Page I am delivering their message,as they say it better than I can: 

 PR. Moore’s Produce, located at 24/27 W Main Hwy, Biscoe, NC 27209,(910)428-1266 open 7 days a week.... is one of the best places in North Carolina to find fresh, local produce. Family owned since 1985!!! 

 We carry jams, jellies, relishes, chow chows, cured pork, hoop cheese, grits, peanuts, old fashioned candies, live ornamental plants, garden ornaments and antiques. P.R. Moore’s is part produce stand, part old country store, part nursery and part… well just a little bit of everything good. We also carry hard to find sodas in the bottle, like Blenheim Ginger Ale. Be sure to try the "Fried Apple Pies", homemade pies by daughter Karen, using a 100 year old recipe. 

What really sets P.R. Moore’s Produce apart from grocery stores is two fold. The first, and most obvious, are the prices. You’ll save money shopping at P.R. Moore’s. However, that is not the most important reason. The main reason to visit P.R. Moore’s is the selection and quality of the produce. Depending on the season, you’ll find dozens of varieties of peas and beans, corn, all sorts of both hot and sweet peppers, greens, cucumbers in all sizes, squash, apples, peaches, tomatoes, etc., etc. P.R. Moore’s takes the time to do things that commercial chains cannot or will not do. For instance, they don’t receive shipment after shipment of unripe peaches and sell them to the public. When peaches are in season, they go out to the orchards and hand-pick only the best peaches at the perfect stage of ripeness

The food really is everything they say it is, and I so wish that everyone could have the quality of food that they have in their market. In fact, with Four Dollar a gallon gasoline,I will not be able to go there often to buy from them, I wish they had a market closer to me.

I know that time does not stand still, and we can not go back to those simpler times in our lives, but somehow, we must return those things that were the best from those days, and I am in hopes that somehow the PR Moores of this world will grow and prosper in this day of Big Box Super Markets, where everything in boxed up, or laid out, with lots of additives, and hormones, and food colorings, and pesticides, and all the rest that makes us so fat, and unsatisfied.


  1. Thanks for sharing those good memories, Gary. How nice for you to find the fresh produce stand. We have one near us and really appreciate it. Life is sure different now than it was then, and I miss a lot of that simpler, natural life we had.

    1. Yes indeed! Connie I loved it, and still do.