Written by Edna Liggin
Submitted by Molly Liggin Rankin
One of the last genuine old country stores is the background for Mrs. P. K. Hudson’s way of earning pin money “at home”. Since 1917 she has been coming to this store, located at Litroe. She has sold goods to the same area through a rich cotton economy, wars, and a depression. She says she keeps the store now just to have contact with people.
She told us that her husband, Dr. P. K. Hudson, and herself bought the store in 1917 from G. M. Alston, who had in turn bought it from Grover C. Payne. A vivid reminder of the previous owner is the name G. M. Alston on a metal plate on one of the old glass showcases.
The store, under the Alston ownership, existed in one big room, while the Alston family lived in three back rooms. After Dr. Hudson bought the store, petitions were knocked out, and the store space expanded. Dr. Hudson built one counter, but three of the original one, plus several glass show cases, are still in the store.
We tried to estimate the height of the ceiling, maybe 20 feet, reminding you of the buildings of fifty and seventy-five years ago. Only the floor has been changed since the store was first built.
The old shelves do not have much goods on them today as Mrs. Hudson says she is playing it by ear — she might retire at any time! After fifty-eight years of storekeeping!
In the center aisle of the store is an old treadle type sewing machine, put out by White Mfg. Company. She told us it was bought by her father. From the shelf a few weeks ago she gave us an old bottle of ST. Joseph’s G.F.P., labeled and corked, and full of the original contents. These contents sounded like a salad, pickled in alcohol.
“When were the best day?” we asked Mrs. Hudson. She promptly replied that it was the time when the farmers all around Litroe raised lots of cotton. When the store sold fertilize and feedstuffs. The decline came when farming ceased to be Litroe’s life-style. Too, she said, in the last decade, many old friends have died, and the generation succeeding them either does not farm, or has gone further to work.
Today, Mrs. Hudson sells from this old store, located on the railroad at Litroe, mostly gas, cold drinks, Dr. Tichenor, non-perishable groceries, and a few household items.
A nostalgic piece of furniture in the back of the store is an old fashioned wood stove, reminding of by-gone days. Then customers waited in winter around a red-hot stove for the train to come through, the mail to be put up in the Litroe post-office , and for farm supplies to be loaded in wagons.
We asked Mrs. Hudson about her doctor husband. She told us he quit practicing long ago, and devoted himself to his farming, owning several farms, both near Litroe and some ways off.
What was once part of the family’s business, is now Mrs. Hudson’s way of making a little “pin money”!