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Thursday, July 14, 2016

The "Finally ... A Prankster's Paradise" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just opened my emails and there was a link to a photograph that I had been searching for since I began writing my blog.  You may remember that I wrote a few stories about this store in downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania that I would visit as a boy after choir practice on Saturday mornings.  Name of the store I thought was called Steinfeldt's, but could never find any information about it.  That was until today when I clicked on the email and there in front of me was an advertisement in some sort of publication telling about Steinfeldt's at 161 North Queen Street.   The memories began to flood back once again as I read the advertisement that said "The Store of 1000 Gifts."  My mission every time I entered was to purchase a few of the many novelty items that they had for sale just for kids like me.  Some of my favorite items were the Atom Pearls which looked like the Silver Dragees that my mom would use for decorating cupcakes.  
The Atom Pearls would explode when you threw them hard enough against an object.  Could scare the crap out my friends just about every time I bought them.  Also loved the Mexican Jumping Beans that would move around and "jump" in the air when you held them in your warm, moist hand.  Must of had something to do with the heat of your hand to make them do that.  Then there was the fake chewing gum that made your lips turn bright red that I enjoyed giving to my friends.  I remember buying an item I called a "cigarette load" which you could sneak into a cigarette and it would explode when the cigarette burnt to that point.  Only bought them one time, since my dad didn't think it too funny when I tried one in his cigarette.  
The Fake Barf
Also remember the "fake barf" and the hand buzzer that I had fun fooling my friends.  I can't imagine how many young boys and girls in Lancaster Must have bought items such as these at Steinfeldt's over the years they were in business.  Then, one day they demolished the store.  Not only Steinfeldt's, but the entire 100 block of North Queen Street.  "Urban renewal" was the reason!  I've written about that before and the concrete jungle that resulted which still dots the landscape in downtown Lancaster.  Oh, for the good olde times when a kid could buy a novelty item and have a great time fooling or embarrassing their friends.  Of course, kids no longer enjoy that sort of thing.  Not electronic enough for them.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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