2013-09-20 / Community

A Window on the Past

Memories surface of Stuart’s 5 & 10
By Craig Skelton
South Portland Historical Society

Stuart’s 5 & 10 at 380 Cottage Road may not be well remembered. Located next to Carolyn’s Caterers and across from Sue’s Variety Store, now known as DiPietro’s Market, the 5 & 10 resided there only from 1971 through 1975.

My childhood neighbor Brian Fox remembers the penny candy for which our local dentist Dr. Thurston was grateful for the resulting business. I fondly remember the little wax soda bottle-shaped candy filled with colorful syrupy liquid. I would bite off a chunk of the little bottle, drink the liquid inside and chew the wax-like gum. The sweet flavor quickly was lost and it did not make for very good gum.

My parents would shake their heads over the junk I would bring home from there. I saved my pennies for what must have been a whole summer to buy a chintzy dinner bell fashioned like a small gong that sat collecting dust next to the cash register. Stuart’s probably had that bell on the counter from the day it opened and I just happened to be the sap that came along and relieved them of the trouble of tossing it in the trash the day the business closed. My memory may not be so good and others may do better to remember, yet I’m trying to recall the name of the little old lady who stood watch behind the counter. Your shared memories would be greatly appreciated.

I have scoured photographic records, including “South Portland: A Nostalgic Look At Our Neighborhood Stores,” by Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo and was not able to find a picture of Stuart’s 5 & 10. We ask your help in allowing us to copy or scan any photos you may have of buildings, events,or people of historic significance related to South Portland. A photo of Stuart’s would be a truly special find. I hope my fond memories stir some interest in folks to help the South Portland Historical Society record and preserve our history. Please contact the society at 767-7299 or sphistoricalsociety@ maine.rr.com if you can help.

Craig Skelton is a guest columnist and member of South Portland Historical Society.

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