Monday, November 30, 2009

Fizz and Frippery


Above: The girls on that trip. 1908 era. Well, we know where in the Eastern Townships that they went.

I like that word frippery. I invoked it in my blog about the Eaton's catalogue. In the last blog of the book Flo in the City, based on the letters of Tighsolas posted on my social studies website, http://www.tighsolas.ca/ , I wrote a scene where Flo and Mae go to Sutherland's drug store, to get some soda.

Sutherland's is important to the story, since that man is soon to be elected Superintendant of Protestant Schools, a very lofty position in education in Quebec. (Shopkeepers had a lot of political clout in 1910, in towns. They could talk up people in the shops, the ones who didn't like reading newspapers.)

I'm glad I thought of this, because this led me to do a little research on soda fountains. My instincts were correct. Soda fountains were big in 1910 and drug stores had them because, well, soda drinks evolved from tonics, the fizz put in them to counter the mediciney taste! That I could guess.

As I wrote the scene in my head, I wondered if soda fountains were considered dangerous, like nickelodeons, in that they gave young folk a place to congregate and get up to mischief. (I had visions of 1950 in my head.) Well, quite the opposite, they were considered very wholesome and healthy, a place to go that wasn't a saloon! How interesting.

In fact, the entire history of pharmacies is very interesting, if you consider what we have today.
That is Big pharma ruling the world and these mega-pharmacies that make most of their money on women's cosmetics and perfumes and 'herbal' medicines that are no more likely to cure what ails us than oil of sarsparilla or tincture of amandine or whatever they had 100 years ago, when medical science was still primitive.

(My sermon for today. Reminds me, I need more SUPER GREENS PLUS -antioxidant, anti-aging detox stuff from the health food store.)

I'm not sure what Sutherland's contained. There is no mention in the letters, but I do know he sold school books and spectacles.

And that fact plays right into my story, the first chapter, where Flo is upset as she is failing at school!

I think I have to put a few French Canadian customers in the store when they go there.