Scale brings home family ties

Back in the day, Deloris Curtis used to walk from her home on what is now Alder Street to the A Street Grocery, located a couple of doors down the street, to visit a certain clerk named Wendell Moore.

Wendell’s parents owned the market and Deloris, who was “15 or 16 at the time,” according to her daughter, Donita “Donny” Mc-Kinnon, had developed a decided interest in him, even though he was about seven years older than she.

“As she would visit him, she’d be on one side of the counter and he’d be on the other,” McKinnon said. “She had really long hair. He would play with it and braid it into the scale at the counter. When she was ready to leave, she couldn’t.”

At least that’s the story McKinnon heard when she was young and then, when her mother was in a rest home, family members heard it over and over. It was clearly one of Deloris’ favorite memories.

Deloris and Wendell eventually married and moved on to other things, and his parents later sold the market.

That’s where it would have ended, though, if a family friend, Corky Lowen, had not called McKinnon one day earlier this fall.

The A Street Grocery, which was built by McKinnon’s grandfather, “was sold many times over” and finally closed in the early 1960s, when McKinnon was in junior high school, McKinnon said.

In the 1970s, Lowen’s son bought the property next door to the site, at Alder and 9th Avenue, where the store building still stands.

Shortly thereafter, the owners who had closed the store held a garage sale and Lowen, who has a longstanding interest in local history and antiques, found the scales among the items from the store and bought it.

McKinnon said she got to know Lowen while working at Rogers Floral shop, as Lowen would stop in “every day” for a cup of coffee and to visit.

“I know Corky, kind of,” McKinnon said. “She said, ‘I’ve got this scale.'”

During a recent conversation, McKinnon said, Lowen said she wanted McKinnon to have the scale, with one proviso.

“I was very excited,” McKinnon said. “When she told me she had them I was so surprised. I thought it would be so wonderful to have them but they belonged to someone else.

“It was a wonderful surprise. She just asked that we keep it in the family.

McKinnon’s husband Bob will work to restore the scale when the weather improves, he said.

“We’ll just give it to one of our kids,” he said.

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