The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Ledger Publisher 

Column: Video Store


August 30, 2017

When I was growing up I used to relish Friday evening. My family would make our way to Warehouse Video and rent several movies for the weekend.

I can still remember the smell of fresh popcorn they would always give to each customer, and the owner Matt who always had on an impeccable vest and smelled of the bar across the street. I could spend hours trying to find the right movie.

I would from time to time go the local Blockbuster or Hastings, but there was something special about that little store and how they would always reserve a movie for me. Once in a great while, the owner would let me take home the early copies they would get of new releases. As a huge movie fan, I felt like king of the world (And speaking of king of the world and movies, there was plenty of damn room on that floating piece of wood for Jack too Rose).

I once let a girlfriend use my membership to the store and she didn’t return three movies. I was charged for them, but he would let me pay a couple dollars every week rather than all at once. It was a small town business and although the customer isn’t always right, I sure did always feel that way.

Sadly, bigger stores would come into town and the wave of technology eventually forced the store out of business.

I guess it is just one of the things where the world changes around us as we get older. There are so many little businesses from when I was little that are no longer around.

I have vivid memories of being in grade school and going to the Woolworth store that was located in my local mall. I would save up as much allowance as possible and spend it all on baseball cards. The cards would come with an awful piece of gum that was harder than a piece of wood and tasted similar to dirt. When the store closed it was never the same to go to a bigger store to get the cards.

With the rise in technology, I think we all see the world changing and I hope the younger generation doesn’t get lost by spending too much time on a electronic device.

I remember waking up every summer morning and leaving the house as soon as the sun was up.

We would ride bikes, explore the vast open spaces of Wyoming, and have fun until the sun would set. As soon as the sun would go down, the neighborhood kids would get together and play games like “kick the can” or “hide and seek.”

It obviously wasn’t that long ago, but it seems a world away. I don’t see as many kids out exploring nor hanging around the street at night.

I remember coming home looking like “Pigpen” and having to shower. I wouldn’t trade my experiences growing up for anything.

I kind of wonder what it would be like if I would have had a cell phone growing up. Would I have sat inside taking pictures of myself, or would I have still gone outside?

I’m just lucky I didn’t, because I probably would have spent too much time being involved with electronics. Certainly we watched movies as a family, but there was never any outside distractions.

I really think the only thing that can truly take me back, as well as gives the kids a slice of the good life is camping somewhere there is no service. That is something I need to do a lot more of. Being out in nature and exploring all day would serve as a way to remind me of good childhood memories as well as a positive experience for the whole family.

I might even go to IGA or the Corner Store and rent a few movies on a Friday night. Have everyone put up their phones and enjoy the evening. I might even make up some homemade popcorn. One of the last times I went home I saw Matt from the video store. He still had a impeccable vest, but was playing on his cell phone. Seemed fitting. Maybe I should try and buy his popcorn machine.


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