Silber’s Drug store on Carl Street

Had been in the Silber family

As long as anyone could remember.

On the second floor above the pharmacy

Was the dentist, Doctor Takao, (where

I went by myself when I was only 5 years old!)

And Doctor Ball, a general practitioner

Who delivered my sister and brothers and I,

And would make house calls

If you had the flu.

The drug store was about two blocks

Down from the end of the street car line

And perhaps three blocks

From my grandmother’s house;

It was fairly close to ‘St Leo’s

And a place to stop into

After mass on Sundays.

We went to the drug store for everything

Including prescriptions,

Magazines, cherry phosphates

And a chocolate malted (twenty five cents each)

Comic books,

And an assortment of penny candy.

Mr Silber was the pharmacist

And filled prescriptions and

Gave free advice,

While Mrs. Silber

Ran the cash register and

Watched like a hawk

Every child who came in

Or went out of the drug store,

With its tinkling bell above the door

That announced their arrival.

Most memorable to me

Was the time I accompanied

My uncle to Silber’s to pick up

A prescription for my mother.

While Uncle Cal talked to Mr. Silber,

I enviously looked over the paperback

Books on the shelves

And spotted one titled


Twenty five cents. Needless to say,

I didn’t have twenty five cents

But my uncle saw me looking

(perhaps drooling) over the paperback

Book and he bought it for me.

A whole new world opened to me

With that one book

And to this day I have collected

Everything written about Anne Frank.

I read the Diary until the pages fell out

Of the paperback book and I never

Forgot my uncle’s act of kindness

Towards a 9 year old girl.

Silber’s was the place to go

On a hot summer night

For an ice cream cone

Or when I got a little older

To buy trashy magazines

Like True Confession and True Love.

The neighborhood where I grew up

Has changed drastically since those

Days in the 1940s and 1950s and

Now only the boarded up buildings

Remain on Carl Street.

I don’t know what became of Silber’s—

Perhaps they started another drug store

Somewhere else.


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted April 2009


Sandy’s note: The purchase of the

Diary of Anne Frank is a true story

Right down to my Uncle Cal going to

Pick up a prescription for my mother.

Carl Street is a down-and-out neighborhood

Now but it was a great place to be

Growing up when I was a little girl.


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