Big nods to Vanessa's Blog for the inspiration to write about the "grocery store" we used to shop at. I would never have thought of it, if she had not entered "Lidl" in BlogMadness. Thank you, Vanessa!
Tru-Buy was the biggest grocery store in the neighborhood. There were others. There was the confectionary 3 blocks west of my home, and there was the place a half-mile away where you could cash your paycheck for a 12% fee. But Tru-Buy had the best prices. There were shelves lining the walls, a freezer and two coolers; the kind that hold meat in modern grocery stores. The rest of the aisles were marked out with masking tape on the floor; an assortment of boxes and tables sat within the designated lines. The coolers never worked right. Everything was either frozen, or just barely cool. I actually thought raw beef was supposed to be brown, because that was the color of the frozen/thawed/frozen again hamburger we always bought.
We visited Tru-Buy on Saturdays and Wednesdays. We always bought the same things: a head of lettuce, a stalk of celery, a pound of hamburger, a pound of chicken, a loaf of bread, 2 packages of garlic bologna, a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk, a can of tuna, margarine, ramen noodles or tomato soup, Rice-A-Roni, Hamburger Helper Chili-Mac, and a box of macaroni and cheese. When we weren't buying condiments, toilitries or dish soap; we had money for "extras".
I always loved the weeks we could buy extras. Bonus money bought whatever fruit was in season, banannas, cheese, and sometimes even cookies. The total price tag was around $20.
On rare occasions, we took a bus to Soulard Market, instead of shopping at Tru-Buy. Those were the best trips, ever.
Soulard was always crowded. The prices were hand printed on an assortment of cardboard, paper bags and poster board. It was wonderfully chaotic; with vendors calling out, "Hey pretty lady! Buy my plums! Best in the market!" or "Grapes! You need my grapes!" Several of the neighborhood families had stalls at Soulard Market. We always bought from them before shopping elsewhere. Mom would buy 5 lbs of apples; tossing them up to the vendor, who would catch and weigh them. My sister and I would be jumping up and down, asking, "Can we eat them now? Can we?" The vendor would bag the apples, then wink at us and toss in 3 more. He was either really nice, or really smart; because we would tear into those apples right there at his stall. People would see us and say to the vendor, "And I'll take some of those apples too."
There is nothing like shopping at Soulard.