Rockport Merchants-Mid 20th Century.
Mrs. Kevil's General
Please be advised that the following is not a factual presentation of
occurrence or events from the small town of Rockport. It is just
something to give an old retiree something to do during the cold spells of the
winter of 2005. An added bonus would be if anyone will actually look and
read. The paragraphs are just composed of thoughts and remembrances from life in
Rockport during this period of time and names, dates, and other information may
be incorrect. If you disagree and want to add something, feel free to come
on back at me.
Please note that the above picture is not of Mrs. Kevil's General Merchandise Store. I no longer have the
opportunity to take that picture-Wish that I could. The presented picture is of James J. Reid's
Grocery Store building as it is viewed today. Jamie Reid moved his store from the old Kevil's store building
to this building and this is from where Jamie retired. With Jamie gone, the property has seen several attempts
at, again making this old building a place of business, all to no avail. The second story of this building has been
used by the Masons ever since I can remember and think that it is still their lodge area. To get a scrolling
type landscape, I have mirrored the individual picture and then placed it in a scrolling script.
Again, this is a trail to follow if you have a desire to reminiscence. If not, thanks for getting this far and
hope that you will enjoy the music. If you are still here, thanks.
About the time or somewhat before Shim operated his Grocery Store, there was a General Merchandise Store a few
blocks up the street from him. Mrs. Kevil was proprietor and operator. Don't remember much about the early years of
this store and don't remember Mr. Kevil. Mrs. Kevil was a small woman and must have had a good head concerning
merchandising or at least knew who to train for the retail business. She was the one person that had the knowledge
to train one of the great grocery clerks, and none other than James J. Reid. More on him later.
The Kevil store was in a large building and think that it may have started off as a General Merchandise Store and
never intended to be a grocery. Actually, there was two buildings under one roof and two separate entrances. The
General Merchandise Store was on the left and a "Feed and Seed" type store was on the right. There was another building
attached to the right of the "Feed and Seed" store, but the old mind is a little foggy here. Think that it
may have burned about this period of time. Parking was on the street and entrances was from a sidewalk to separate
concrete steps for each store. The "Feed and Seed" part of the store was not very busy and that entry was closed
most of the time. Not wanting to let a good concrete playing area go to waste, we would lay out a checker board on
these steps and would spend many an hour playing checkers. Our checkers were bottle caps from sodas or "Pop Bottles" as
they were sometimes called. No problem with the making of a checker board, as all that we had to do was to ask
Jamie and he always obliged us with shoe polish or paint to make this checker board. There was some very good checker
players in this small town, but that is another story.
Upon entering the left side of the building, there was a store area where the larger items were kept and then one step
up to another level was the smaller items or the items that was more in demand. Instead of a long counter with
the standard type of equipment such as a "Credit Book Holder" and a cash register, there was sort of a circle enclosure.
Inside this enclosure was where the clerk worked. Again, the customer handed the clerk a list and then the clerk
would proceed to fill the list. This store was not very well lighted either and one would have to know what to look for
if they were in the extremities of the store. It was quite dark.
My first visit to the store would have been in the late forties and Mrs. Kevil would have been the first person that I
would have seen. My first impression of the store was of delight and also of awe. Seems that a young clerk, not much
older than I, was going about his business of operating and running the store. A person could write a book on Jamie Reid,
but this is just a simple e-mail of a few paragraphs and I will not attempt to write very many of my remembrances of
James J. Reid.
In this time frame of the late forties, Rockport was experiencing changes and one particular change was in the
merchandise business. Where clothing, shoes, livery, household and farm type equipment was once being sold, the
enterprising merchant was switching over to more of household type items and groceries. Whether it was Mrs. Kevil or
Jamie Reid making the decisions, the Kevil store was one of those stores that was changing.
Thanks for looking and reading this far. The story is not over, just being continued. Hum, guess this type story
would never end.
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