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Hardware Reverie

March 09, 1997|ANDREA MASSION

When I was a young girl, every Saturday morning, my dad and I would go to Marshall's Hardware in Van Nuys near the corner of Oxnard and Woodman.

While the men gathered at the register and talked about the space program, politics and how to move a water heater out of a tight space, I roamed the aisles.

First stop, the doorbells. Had to ring each one at least twice and wonder why we didn't have the kind that sounded like chimes. Then on to the hardware bins: I was sure my father needed cement nails every week because they looked so great. I wanted to buy him a new hammer for his birthday, but he liked the one his father had used. On to check out the ropes and cording and decide which one I would need. It was always the kind that looked just like the jump-ropes at school. Every fall I wanted the rake that was just my size.

Every Saturday, he'd buy me a gum ball out of the round glass dispenser near the front door.

And for himself? I think he bought a little camaraderie, a few solutions, a cup of coffee and good conversation.

Marshall's is gone, but I still roam aisles searching for just the right thing.

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