Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Flotkens Market

Steve has been on a health kick lately which includes a lot of walking. He's been very diligent about taking a walk everyday. It's still too hot & humid out there for me so I do the treadmill - I probably wouldn't be able to keep up with his long legs anyway.
Anyway, the last few times we've needed a few items from the grocery store he's been walking up to the Farmer's Market up on Watson and it brought back memories of walking down to Flotkens Market where Daddy worked when we were kids. I remember when we were too young to go on our own we would walk down there with Mama. She had it timed so she could do her shopping during the last hour of his shift so he could drive us and all the groceries home (mama didn't drive).
While she did the shopping I (and probably Jimmy) would follow daddy around as he worked in the produce. I loved going back to the huge refrigerator and watching him sort out any bad produce before he'd come out and restock the bins. I can remember a lot of the customers stopping to chat with him and ask for his help picking out produce. He really spoiled us - he always brought home the best fruit & veggies. Sometimes he would charmingly tease one of his regulars - usually an older lady who loved the attention- and after they were out of earshot he'd tell us he did that cause they were such old crabs. If he was really busy and we were underfoot he'd send us over to visit the bakery where the ladies would give us a free sugar donut and we'd visit there until mama was ready to check out.
The store was one of those little friendly family owned stores and the owners treated us like family. When I was a bit older I would sometimes go down there just to stop and chat with daddy. Mr. Flotkens helped me set up a stand in his store to sell my product from Junior Achievment and he came to my wedding - I still have their wedding gift.
At some point they moved the store out to Olivette. The Flotkens were Jewish and they could cater more to that clientel out there. I do remember daddy complaining that they all took off for the Jewish holidays and the Christiam holidays. Jimmy worked for them there (that was how he avoided Miss Hullings) so he probably has a more mature memory of the store and family. But walking down on 'grocery shopping day' was always a treat to me - as was walking to the library, Famous-Barr, Hampton Village or taking the bus to Cherokee street. I guess if gas gets too high we may have to start having those types of adventures again.


Anonymous said...

Our good friend and my old neighbor on Potomac Street, Jack Nagy, worked for your dad in the store. He later became produce manager at Straubs. We're going with him to Branson in October. Also, my dad designed a gadget to help your dad in marking the various items. Bill

lilabet said...

I didn't know any of that. But I always thought of Uncle Willard as the creative type - thanks for sharing those details. annie

Ed. Tritschler said...

Your sister and I had been married maybe two weeks,three weeks at the most. On a Wednesday after church we stopped by Flotkenns your dad was working and we bought two quarts of strawberries. I understand later that night your dad said said something to your mother like those two bought more strawberries than they can eat. My memory is the strawberries were gone by Sunday night.