Somebody said there was an old general store in Randles where the owner just closed the door and walked away with all his stock on the shelves one day. I don’t know who told me about it, but it came from a couple of different folks.
When Ernie Chiles and I passed through the town on the way to the Painton airstrip, I noted a likely candidate and decided to check it out on another trip. (You can click on the photos to make them larger.) See the black cat crossing my path on the left?
The sign on the north side of the building says Matthews Store. I don’t know if that’s Matthews with or without an apostrophe, but it probably doesn’t make much difference these days.
I had Mother and Wife Lila’s Uncle Ray with me on this adventure. Mother’s got a sharp eye for persimmons, so she made me pick up the ones that were on the ground and hustle them back to the car.
Lots of goods in the store
I couldn’t quite see through the windows, so I held my camera above my head to peer in through the broken front window. I can see lots of stuff on the shelves, but it looks more random than would support the “walked away” tale.A lot of the bottles and jars appear to have been opened and empty, like they were placed there by a collector. The center of the store was taken up with stuff that looked more like trash than treasures.
Still, it must have been quite a store in its day. It big inside and out. I imagine it was the center of life in Randles.
Double doors to where?
I couldn’t tell if this was a separate storeroom or what the purpose the extension on the north side of the building would have served. I don’t think you’d have doors for customers this far away from the main entrance. My guess was they were used used for deliveries. It doesn’t have the feel of lodging for the store owner, either. It’s too long and narrow for that and probably wouldn’t have had double doors.
I guess when it’s time to add shoes to the Perkins Shoe Tree, I’ll have to ask around for more info.
[Editor’s note: I had originally said this store was in Perkins. Reader Madeline DeJournett, a REAL reporter, corrected me below in the comments. It’s actually in Randles. If you’ve been on the page before, you may have to press Ctrl-F5 to make her comment show up.]