Growing up in New Milford, Ohio, a fixture of our lives was the gas station located down the road. Girton’s was owned and ran by Russ and Betty Girton. Russ was a mechanic, Betty ran the store operations and they usually employed one or two clerks. Anything a young woman or man could want, and most things many adults did, could be had from Girton’s.
Girton’s was a full service operation with garage. “Ding ding” as you pulled a car in, or your bike if you hit the rubber line just right. Gas, checked the oil and tires and cleaned the windshield, all with a smile.
Inside, coolers filled with beer, wine, dairy goods and deli meat and cheese, ice cream and ice cream novelties… Shelves for basic pantry items, snacks, smokes, and… A huge candy counter.
We all ended up at Girton’s pretty much daily as kids for a soda or candy, or for air in our bike tires. As we hit the age of driving, we stopped for our gas and oil. Sadly, small independent gas stations were driven out of being profitable by the larger stations and chains.
I don’t remember exactly when it closed. I feel sad that I don’t because it’s closing was a bellwether of the charges of our entire world, in which the warm and local was displaced by the cold and corporate for profit.