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Gwin Mitchell Paden Loss of Hunnell’s pharmacy stirs memories of other fine businesses no longer here

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Gwin Paden

Posted: Saturday, July 2, 2011 12:00 am

I barely got over the retirement of my doctor, Robert Kellar, when along came the closing of Hunnell’s Pharmacy — after 50 years or so. Another body blow. The place was like a funeral during the last week or so, with everyone coming in to say unhappy goodbyes. I know we will all be well cared for by different doctors and different pharmacies, but leaving people you’re used to is hard for us older folks.

Got to thinking just how many Lodi institutions, like Hunnell’s, aren’t with us any more.

Newfield’s, for instance, with old Mr. Joe presiding over women’s and children’s clothing in the front corner part of what is now Thornton House, and young Mr. Joe presiding over the furniture store at the other end. Actually, before Newfield’s extended their store southward, there was a toy store (Gilbeau’s?) and then the Turner Hardware Store — or the other way around — in that space. Gilstraps ran one of them. Names fail me, unfortunately.

Also gone but not forgotten are The Toggery and Squire’s men’s stores, Wilson’s Pharmacy, the bowling alley, the roller skating rink, Turnage Market, the lovely old stone church on Locust Street that was St. Peter’s, Roy’s Market (vegetables and eggs) on Kettleman Lane, Parrett’s, Cottage Bakery (Downtown), Henderson Bros. (and later Ace) hardware stores, the big room upstairs at Richmaid where so many groups met, the restaurant at Rollin’ in Dough, Blewett’s and their malteds, Woolworth’s, Avenue Drugs, the Lodi Movie Theater on School Street, the open field at the southwest corner of Ham Lane and Lodi Avenue, Fluffy Doughnuts, Sasaki’s store on Main Street (the kids all said they had the best Sno-Cones), the palm reader’s store on Cherokee Lane when the lane was Highway 99 while it went through Lodi. And all this is just what I remember during my 54 years here. I know there is a lot more recalled by those who have been here a lot longer and/or have better memory.


And all this leads logically to a thoughtful quotation from Alexander McCall Smith, who writes several series of charming books: “Horace’s Odes: ‘Non omnis morioris — I shall not wholly die.’ As long as people remembered, then death was not complete. Only if there were nobody at all left to remember would death be complete.” This is from “The Charming Quirks of Others,” one of McCall’s Isabel Dalhousie series. He is probably best known for The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, set in Botswana, and his style can be said to have its own charming quirks.

My good friend, Dr. Rabbi Raphael Pazo, has more or less been pretty well confined to bed lately. That has not kept his considerable talents from being exercised. He is teaching bagpipe classes via sight and sound over the Internet to a group of 19 in Bogota, Colombia, and another class in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He emails the music to them ahead of time, and is using only the chanter pipe and metronomes to make sure his pupils properly master tone and fingering. There are possibilities of other classes in Milan, Italy, and Melbourne, Australia, in the offing. A basic factor to be considered is time. Bogota is two hours ahead of our time, and Buenos Aires is about five hours ahead. While I often want to throw rocks at my computer, here is an example of how this instrument can free a person and send him worldwide.

Another such example was mentioned in the Stockton paper: One can take a five-day cruise through Norway’s scenic fjords, free and streamed live, on the Internet. A good vacation for the homebound. The whole “trip” takes 8,040 minutes (including all the boring bits) aboard a Norwegian cruise ship. To follow the scenic voyage live, go to www.nrk.no/nett-tv/direkte/ nrk2/. Worth trying.


I’ve already received notice of fundraisers for Lodi Support Our Troops, the group that prepares Thanksgiving/Christmas packages for our troops overseas. The American Legion Post 22 will have a dinner on Aug. 5, ($15, $7 for children 12 and under), with a raffle and silent auction, and, prior to that, Klinker Brick Winery will host a Veterans’ Art and Auction Show on July 9, featuring wine and appetizers, art, and, of course, an auction. All proceeds, including a $20 cover charge, will go towards providing items for the boxes.

Also planned are a trip to Raley’s Field on Aug. 18 to watch the River Cats play, a Tea Party Patriots’ picnic at Viaggio’s on Sept. 18, and on Nov. 5, an event at Van Ruiten’s Winery. More on these later.

Found this quip written by Herb Caen, the late longtime columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, on the occasion of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. He referred to it as “the car-strangled spanner.” My pun-loving soul loves that one!


First Son has retired after 35 years with the San Joaquin County assessor’s office, and it has been great having him available for a daytime phone talk now and then. We were talking about how people build houses in areas where there are floods and/or tornados and wondering why they did so when there were so many painful disasters.

FS felt that a domed house would do better in high winds because of the air flow over the top, with which I heartily agreed, but we had different ideas about flood-area building. FS thought whole areas should be built up on pillars, like overhead freeways, so all the water could go underneath. I liked the idea of building homes on barges, which would just float, and could be moved away from dangerous tides.

Anybody have some other ideas?


And a good one to end with, thanks to Gary Rouppet, who certainly carries out this precept with what he has done for others most of his life: “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak — because some day you will have been all of these.” This from George Washington Carver.

Gwin Paden has been in Lodi since 1957 and has been involved with a number of groups after having had several careers. She appreciates those who appreciate this column.

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