Sunday, April 3, 2011


My siblings all get a laugh at my mothers expense if we say the word Jembro out loud. Raising 12 children made my mother a big fan of five and dime stores when we were younger.Apparently, they were all the rage. You could pop in there and get just about anything really cheap. Household supplies, last minute gifts, beauty products- you name it. Eventually the five and dime stores went by the way side. But a new breed of them came into vogue not too long after. My Mom's favorite was called Jembro. Mostly she'd buy nicknack's for around the house. Holidays would have my Mom buying all types of decorations from Jembro to brighten the whole place up. I used to think it so odd she could have such fun running to Jembro and getting lost in the aisles among what appeared to be a whole lot of junk.

Now me, on the other hand, I have much more refined tastes.I love dollar stores. I mean the REAL dollar stores, where everything is actually- a Dollar. There are plenty of imitations around today that say they are dollar stores, but a quick peek inside tells you that's not really true. Don't let them fool you!Those kind of stores are fake dollar stores. They give the REAL dollar stores a bad name. They pretend everything inside is a dollar but it might not be, often it's way more ( like a $1.25- there is such thing as principle you know).REAL dollar stores are hard to find now a days.

There happens to be a REAL dollar store in Pennsylvania and I went there today. I cannot really believe how happy I can get going into one of these junky places, but its true, God help me, I do.Slowly but surely, I am turning into my Mother. I think it happened when I hit the tenth kid.I now LOVE dollar stores. I love finding arts and crafts items for the kids schooling, wrapping paper and supplies, bribes for the days when NO ONE wants to finish any work but they might if they are shown a package of army men, coloring books and crayons, hair clips and hair bands, candy, kitchen utensils like spatulas and wisks, and about a million other items all for a DOLLAR!

I will also tell you they happen to be the only place I know of where you can easily find the following items:

  • fiddle faddle 

  • nickel nips
  • pop rocks
  • The windshield wonder ( as seen on TV)
  •  St Stanislaus votive candles ( just in case you were out)
  •  34 copies of Bill Clintons MY LIFE.
  •  the complete My Three Sons series (VHS).
  •  And the last known copy of Night of The Comet

  • A special attachment for your blender that churns butter
  • 1 one sixth of a pound box- of 3 penny finish nails ( try saying that out loud 3X fast)

I never feel badly spending money in the dollar store. In fact it is one of the only places I go where I don't think at all about spending money and instead just pick up whatever I like in a most undisciplined fashion. I also allow whatever child that happened to be dragged along, to do the same. In fact I encourage them to find the toy aisle and pick out ANYTHING they want. Matthew had a devil of a time choosing between FLARP and a 6 foot rubber snake. ( the snake won out in case you were wondering).

Yes, I know the shower curtains they sell are 2 inches shorter than standard ones, effectively diverting all water to the bathroom floor but HEY it was only a dollar and because it was ONLY A DOLLAR,  I bought the bath mat to go along. And who cares if the bathmat is made out of some type of polyester/nylon hybrid that absorbs no liquid at all, IT TOO WAS ONLY A DOLLAR ! Yes,  I am also aware the flashlights don't really work, but I have plenty of candles anyway ( St Michael is my personal favorite)  and I actually prefer candles when we lose power. Okay- So who knew the irregular socks meant they have no elastic in the top, at least there are no holes in the  bottom, and did I mention it was three pairs for A  DOLLAR? ( well maybe more like 2 and a half pairs but whose counting?)

Look- if you're gonna keep up complaining I don't know what to tell you.  You certainly are picky.As for me- I am happy with my cheap splurges that haven't broken any banks (I'll let the government continue to do that job). Look, I have to run  now and watch My Three Sons- even if it is on VHS and we don't have a VHS player any more- it doubles as a coaster . 

 Try not to forget- IT WAS ONLY A DOLLAR!


  1. Hmmm... I don't recall a "Jembro" from Massapequa, but the "ten cents store" was certainly a big part of my childhood. It covered the better part of one whole block downtown, with entrances both on Central Avenue and Broadway. Just like the Jembro of your memory, it seemed to have everything- socks, underwear, sewing supplies and cleaning products, light bulbs and extension cords, greeting cards and toiletries. Best of all though, there were green plastic army men-- glad they're still around!-- and jungle animals and dinosaurs made from an odd composite that dented under your fingernail.

    Interestingly, while I suppose the store had an actual name, I never heard it used. It was either the ten-cents store or the five-and-ten. (Never the "five-and-dime" in our neighborhood, for some reason.)

    Finally, you now have me jonesing for Nik-L-Nips.

  2. You'll be happy to know army men now come in an assortment of colors! Fred and I have naturally down all the Nik-L'Nips and chewed the wax for a while too!