Sunday will be the last day behind the prescription counter for Thurlow E. (Sandy) Shoemaker, shown her, registered pharmacist at Judd's drug store, who retires after 51 years in the drug store business.
"Drug stores certainly have changed in my time," muses Sandy as he recalls that memorable July 4, 1904 when Arthur Ervin, Claypool druggist, hired the 14-year-old lad to jerk sodas and make himself useful in coping with the crowds of customers in town for the big celebration.
The next month Ervin moved his business to North Webster and Sandy went along for the summer. When school started in Claypool, however, he began working at the Scoles drug store in his hometown.
Starting as an eighth grader then, he earned $2 per week for part-time work, $5 for full time. This was his wage scale all through high school.
His duties included putting up stock and making ice cream in a five-gallon freezer two to four times a day. Drug stores made soda water in a 15-gallon steel drum on a rocker connected to a tank of carbonic gas. The soda counter offered most of the sodas and sundaes we know today except for banana splits and similar concoctions developed since then. Two favorites that are unfamiliar now were a coffee flavored syrup and fruit nectar.
Packed in Straw
In those days prescription bottles came packed in straw-filled boxes. They weren't corked either so it was quite a task to wash the dusty little bottles thoroughly, setting them to dry on a nail-studded rack.
At that time a man could qualify for a pharmacist's license by serving a four-year apprenticeship under a licensed prescription dispenser or by taking two years of college work. Sandy had ample experience by this time but he enrolled in the Indianapolis college of pharmacy and studied there for one year. He took the state board exams in March and received his license in April, 1911.
Druggists made many of the items that today come already prepared. The students learned to make up spirits of camphor, essence of peppermint, tincture of arnica, citrate of magnesia.
Pointing to a prescription he was working on, Sandy commented, "All I have to do now is count the tablets. Years ago a pharmacist would take the active ingredients, mix them with sugar of milk or a similar inactive filler and then put the preparation into capsules."
$15 a week
Sandy's first job as a licensed pharmacist was with an Indianapolis store where he earned $15 per week. He married Miss Raydell Ward an Indianapolis girl. They went to Claypool for a year, then to Plymouth, back to Indianapolis and then Pierceton where his employer was Harold Switzer.
In 1919 Shoemaker bought the Scoles drug store in Claypool which he owned and operated for 27 years. Hood's sarsparilla, Hostetter's bitters and Castoria were popular items on the shelves.
Like all other drug stores the Shoemaker establishment had the traditional show globes filled with colored water. Toilet soap, talcum powder and bulk perfume in rose, lily of the valley and carnation fragrance were about the only cosmetic items handled then. Drug stores didn't stock box candies or magazines either.
Sandy recalls that in 1907 or 1908 Scoles was wondering if it would be wise to branch out with a line of Kodaks. His young clerk reassured him and it proved to be quite a moneymaker. The cigar counter offered a wide variety of good five-centers, many of the brands coming from factories right in the county.
When a farmer had a sick horse he would more often than not, come in for some tonic, made up by the druggist. The recipe for one of these mixtures Sandy said, included copperas, resin, nux vomica, black antimony and flax seed.
Wanting to ease off on responsibility and long hours, Sandy sold his store in May, 1945, worked several years at the Knight store in Warsaw, spent one summer at Dufur's and joined the Judd staff in August, 1953.
His retirement plans specify plenty of fishing, puttering around his Yellow Creek cottages and spending the winter in Florida.
Warsaw Times-Union Saturday, September 24, 1955
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