Miller Time

Crimes

UNITED STATES—A lot of the drug store operation and staff was inherited from Mr. Meyer when Johnson Drug changed hands, in 1962. That inheritance included Alberta Johnson. Yes, she was related to Johnson, the Johnson whose surname the store bore. Alberta was his widow. He must have died early, leaving her with a daughter to raise. So even though she had a house on Cutter Drive and drove a T-bird, here...

How It Ended

UNITED STATES—An offer from another chain store came for the drug store, and my parents welcomed it. Capitulating to one of the chains was still not the most desirable ending to 44 years of service. Then a young eager pharmacist, interested in taking over the pharmacy, reappeared. He would preserve the Johnson name, its independence and assure continuity. It seemed...

Whole Lotta Shakin

UNITED STATES—Among the carryovers from the Meyer era of Johnson Drug was Tammy the bookkeeper. She wore a dark sweater and skirt and was Japanese-American. Her lair was the office up on the top of the stairs in back, all glassed in. It had been a record listening room in the prior incarnation of the store at the corner....

Our Man In Amsterdam

UNITED STATES—Tossing and turning the other sleepless night in Hollywood, I made a shocking discovery. Without ever having suspected it, there lurked within me a regret, a full-fledged, ripe, bruisingly painful, honest-to-God regret. Before this night I had always prided myself a member of that wise tribe that exclaims, "Regrets? I have no regrets. None at all." The tossing and...

Chained

UNITED STATES—The advent of the chain store, Long’s, just a block from his Main and East Lake corner, caused my dad a great deal of worry. His confrere, Harry Johnson at Steinhauser & Eaton got a chuckle out of his anxiety, mimicking my dad: “The sky is falling, Long’s is coming.” It was this big, uncontrollable, nameless, faceless thing coming...

Bonzoid

UNITED STATES—Dad couldn’t cut the mustard in pre-med. The chemistry was too much for him, so he settled for pharmacy, and perhaps in his mind being a druggist was second best, both materially and socially, to being a doctor. He wasn’t in the same league as the doctors (they had houses on Brewington), but the pharmacy suited his Virgo...

Endgame

UNITED STATES—In one way the earthquake had been a blessing in disguise for the drug store. People were actually happier with the new little pharmacy where they could call in the prescription, park their car right out in front, pick up their prescription and be off, but still not without that touch of camaraderie that was Johnson Drug’s signature. Also,...

Moving On

UNITED STATES—It was a Monday of the New Year, the same foggy day that the sheriffs and also Jim Wylie’s muscle came (in case of trouble) to evict the diminutive postal carrier at Manhattan Place who had fallen under the spell of crack. Having the muscle there was overkill. The man, his eyes now dulled, still not without a...

Cottage Chronicles: Deutsches Requiem

HOLLYWOOD—It happens when you get in a cottage courtyard and stick around long enough: somebody dies who's been here forever. It happens while the lamp is on and close enough to be heard clear as if someone was rotating a spoon in a bone-china cup. Those who keep moving on as the majority of Americans do (we move on...

Live And Let Diet

UNITED STATES—It’s often easier to go unrecognized as a diet guru. And what happened after my daughter’s 8th grade graduation, has left me with a intricate desire to scream. I could scream. That’s right. After the blazing sunny ceremony, held on the lawn of Beverly Hills High School, a couple of parents, friends and children, now teen graduates clad in togas, adjourned...
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