Life Happened at Safeway

When I was growing up, much of my life was spent at Safeway.Safeway.jpeg

All three kids went with my mother for the weekly trip to Safeway on Buckner Boulevard in Pleasant Grove (Dallas). We entered the store and got a cart. I can remember the various stages of riding in the cart, standing on the end of the cart, and then wanting to push the cart.

What I remember most about Safeway is that it was the place where much of life seemed to happen. It was a place where life seemed less complicated:

  • Safeway was the place where I found a $20 bill on the floor. I showed my mother and then turned it in to the office. I thought that maybe no one would claim it and I would get to keep it. However, a lady called the store saying that she had lost a $20 bill while she was shopping. Any hope of keeping that $20 was now gone. Turns out she was from our church.
  • Safeway was the place where I learned to ride a horse. There were two-coin operated horses in front of the store. Unfortunately, I rarely had a coin. Yet, every week, I sat on these two horses, pretending to be riding, lost in a world of make-believe.
  • Safeway was the place where I found the wrong mother. We had been in the store for a while. I had left the cart and my mother in order to look at the candy rack. I found something that I wanted to buy. I looked throughout the store for my mother. Finally, I saw the back of her green sweater. She was looking at the meat counter. I came behind her and pulled on the back of that green sweater. She turned around and I looked at her face. I was terrified. This wasn’t my mother and the face did not look friendly. I ran!
  • Safeway was the place where I got scolded while I was eating from a torn package of M&M’s. I was walking down the candy aisle, minding my own business when I saw a torn bag of candy. Some of the M&M’s had spilled onto the floor. Other M&M’s were on the counter. I reasoned that if the package was torn, then it could not be sold. If it could not be sold, then it was OK to eat them. So I stood in the aisle eating the candy. I happened to be wearing my Scout uniform. A lady came by pushing her cart. “Some Boy Scout!” she said. I ran.

Later as I got older, I stopped going to Safeway with my mother. I stayed home and waited for her to return from the store with a new box of ice cream.

One night, April 4, 1968, I was home alone watching television. During those days, there was much racial unrest in the cities. On this particular night, I sat glued to the television as Walter Cronkite announced that Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot and killed. Moments later, my mother came home from Safeway. Groceries were brought in, as the television continued giving the latest news of this murder. Violence erupted in Washington D.C. for the next five days.

These were difficult and frightening times. As a child, I certainly didn’t understand the implications of what was taking place. I knew that the violence and unrest of the nation, along with the murder of Dr. King, made my earlier life at Safeway seem like something that happened in a simpler world.

Those early memories at Safeway seemed long ago and less complicated next to the frightening events that I was seeing unfold on television each evening. Even today, there are times when I long for the simplicity of Safeway again.


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8 thoughts on “Life Happened at Safeway

  1. What special childhood memories! The older I get the more thankful I am of distant and not-so-distant memories. It’s even more fun to share them with someone who shared many of those memories. I loved that those earlier Safeways were much smaller and not the mega stores of today. Great post!

    • Karin, I was thinking the other day about how large that Safeway seemed when I was a child. Yet today, it would be considered a very small store. It is amazing how things appear when you are a child.

  2. As I see the photo of this Safeway I’m reminded of one of our old and identical Safeways in Waco. It’s crazy how this whole story is so applicable to my life almost as if someone was watching Tom to write this. This store looks almost like the one we used to visit at 17th and Dutton and grew around. Since then the facility became a haven for changing lives, Church of the Open Door and now University Baptist Church home of David Crowder. Life has happened at this particular Safeway.

    • Tom, isn’t it interesting how you can overhear someone else’s story and feel as if you were hearing much of your own story? Glad this brought back some memories.

  3. “Even today, there are times when I long for the simplicity of Safeway again.” Me, too, only it was Liberty Grocery in Florence, Alabama. Enjoyed this post, Jim. Made me smile! Thanks!