There was a classic New York style candy store on Richmond Street in downtown London, Ontario directly across the street from St. Peter's School where I was obligated by my parents to attend extracurricular language classes between 4:00 and 5:30 Saturday afternoons. Davis Variety was its name. It had the obligatory lunch counter which the fellow worked himself. I was never drawn to get anything at the lunch counter though (not that I would have had the money anyway of course). Unlike the lunch counters at the downtown Metropolitan, Kresge and Woolworths stores, it was pretty spartan and dingy and just didn't appeal to me. Mr. Davis himself was almost a comic book caricature of the old guy working a hot grill and his lunch counter never seemed to have any customers on Saturday afternoons. He probably got the bulk of his business frying up breakfast and lunch for the teachers at St. Peter's. And of course everybody smoked and read newspapers in those days including the teachers and the respective bishops, priests and staff at the adjacent St. Peter's Basilica and St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral.
The Davis Variety had most everything else to tempt a young boy with a quarter or two in his pocket though. It was one of the very few stores I knew that stocked Black Cat Bubble Gum which was licorice flavoured and was somehow chewier than Bazooka or even Dubble Bubble. I remember happily chewing on Black Cat and blowing black bubbles for hours!
I also very clearly remember buying baseball cards at Davis Variety every so often:
And I would always peruse the comic books on the wooden magazine rack that was located on the other side of the store from the lunch counter. The excitement I felt seeing certain new issues of Green Lantern and the Flash for the first time is still seared in my mind to this very day.
In fact, I'm sure those comics are the reason why I still remember the Davis Variety so vividly. The magazine rack was also well situated to sneak a peak at the insides of the titty mags. There would of course have been something wrong with any little boy who wouldn't glance at pictures of bare naked ladies given a chance. In fact, I'm sure that the priests from St. Peter's and St. Paul's, if not the bishops themselves, would have been taking the occasional peak as well.
While St. Peter's and St. Paul's cathedrals are still there, 1979 was the last year for St. Peter's School and the Davis Variety has also been gone for decades. I have a vague recollection of once getting a chocolate milkshake that really wasn't very good at Davis' but sadly I never got to sample a cheeseburger there. You never know what you've got till it's gone.
post edited by Hepcat - 2013/01/30 10:15:16