Supermarket

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The City's First Supermarket

 

In addition to my marriage in 1949, one of the most significant happenings in East St. Louis that year was the arrival of the first Supermarket in the city, the A&P, located on State Street, between 9th and 10th Streets. The opening of this store, and those to follow, marked the beginning of many changes in the food buying habits of my family and those of most other citizens.

I was raised on Alhambra Court. My father, Dr. Edmund Holten, and my mother Betty moved there in 1936. At that time, besides myself, there was my sister Betty and brother Ep, as he was called. Another brother, Bill, was born. three years later.

In those days, before food freezers became common in the home, most people shopped for food at their neighborhood grocer several times a week, mostly due to the rapid spoilage of such staple items as milk, eggs, meat and fish. Some families ordered groceries by phone from a neighborhood store, for delivery by that stores' truck. This was particularly hand), during those years when most families had but one car, and it was used by the husband to get to work. Many families had daily milk deliveries. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, a delivery truck from White's Bakery, a St. Louis company, would cruise down the streets in our neighborhood, and we and our neighbors would meet the truck and buy bread, delicious coffee cake and pies. After A&P opened, large food stores gradually spread to other parts of the city, including a Kroger Store within walking distance of our house.

245-holtenmortuary.tif (137499 bytes) When it snowed, the city had no plows and the streets were not cleared. People put chains on their tires each time it snowed to prevent slipping and sliding. My grandfather, Frank Holten, always brought his horse and sleigh out to Alhambra Court, and took us riding around the neighborhood. This was a real highlight of the winter.

My sister grew up and married P. J. Keeley of East St. Louis. My brother Bill married Peggy Witt, also of East St. Louis. I married John Frey of French Village. We raised our children: John. Elaine, Bette, Bernard and Amy in Loisel Village.

We really enjoyed East St. Louis --the people--the places--the friendships.

                   (Marilyn Holten Fry of St. Charles. MO)

 

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