A week later, Pop reopened his store and it was business as usual. The soda pop was back chilling its way inside the machine. The popsicles were again up for grabs. The popcorn was being consumed again. And Pop was more pop-ular than ever.
They never did catch the culprits, but somewhere out there, they had to live with their crime. The neighborhood was back together again.
Today, I drive by that locality and see the mega changes that have transpired. Pop’s Variety is no longer there. In its place is a Stop & Shop with a parking lot for 150 cars where our basketball court once stood.
The neighborhood school I attended has been leveled. They combined it with another across town. Many of us went to the high school and excelled scholastically and athletically. We still brought our report cards to Pop for approval.
Then, one day the shop closed for good. Pop had gone off to a better place. We held court for him and said a little prayer for the man. He lived with us and inside us.
Photographer and writer Tom Vartabedian is retired from The Haverhill Gazette. He contributes this regular column.