For the five years, 1995 to 2000, that Catherine and I lived on the Kingston Road, Clow’s Red & White in Hampshire was our lifeline. Bobby and Verna and Norman and their staff were a daily part of our lives.
The store is still there – one of the last few rural general stores left on the Island – and I make a point of gassing up my car there whenever I’m in the area. Even though I haven’t lived nearby for 15 years, and am only in the door once or twice a year, they still call me by name at the cash.
Coming up on Saturday, February 6th, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Verna Clow will present “The History of Clow’s Store” at the Riverview Community Centre in Clyde River as part of the Clyde River Lectures for 2016:
Country stores were an important part of the fabric within Island communities over the years. Many did not survive, but Clow’s Store in Hampshire is still thriving. Verna will talk about the history of their store from the early days when Albert Clow first founded it. Her presentation will include photos of the store over the years and how they changed with the times while maintaining strong customer loyalty. She will share some of her favourite stories.
The inclusion of Hampshire in the Clyde River Lectures is part of a broadening for this year:
…this year, we decided to go a little beyond the boundaries of Clyde River and move up Hampshire and Emyvale way and down to North River. It only makes sense considering how closely knit our communities have been over the years. Just check any of your ancestors’ diaries and inevitably you will find that they were visiting some sort of relations in those communities. Their visits could very well have been documented in The Guardian under “Clyde River Notes.”
It promises to be an interesting talk by Verna; I’ll be there and I encourage you to attend as well. There is promise of “warm hospitality with coffee/tea and homemade treats along with tours of our large collection of artifacts and photos highlighting the history of the community,” which makes it simply too good an opportunity to refuse.
As proof-positive of the suggestion that Clyde River Notes was a repository that in part documents the connections between the community and those, like Kingston and Hampshire, that are nearby, here’s a snippet from the April 10, 1929 edition of The Guardian: