Sunday, July 06, 2008

Small Town - Part 4

Mrs. Wode died last week; she was 87 years old. I called her "Miz Wode" (pronounced Wood-ee). She and her husband, Bob, came to Collinsville in 1943 and opened Wodes Hardware on Main Street in 1962 where it remained until closing in 1990. In the photo above, Wodes is the white building--first one on the right.

Wodes was one of those small town hardware stores that carried EVERYTHING from tractor parts to nails and screws to seeds and tomato plants...and anything in between. We had another hardware store in town--Burnside and Heinrichs--just down the street from Wodes. If one store didn't have something, they'd send you down the street to the other store.

Mrs. Wode knew where everything was in that store. And it didn't matter what you needed, she knew what it was. I took a "thing-a-ma-jig" off my lawnmower in once, and as soon as I showed it to her, she said: "That's a fetzer valve off a 1978 Briggs and Statton 5HP lawnmower motor. We've got five of them in the back. How many do you need?" (The conversation may not have gone exactly like that, but it was close.)

That was before Lowes and Home Depot and back when the people that worked at the hardware store actually knew something about hardware.

1 comment:

Baxter said...

Ahhhh, so that's Mrs. Wode. And I definitely agree with you about that hardware knowledge. There was really such a "feel" about those simple shopping districts, weren't there? You could ride your bike, walk around, get a cherry coke, etc.

Sorry about Mrs. Wode.