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>We're along side of what is currently called M and J Grocery , 224 Coming at the corner of Spring Street. Their sign, courtesy of Miller Lite, looks a bit less enduring than that of a previous occupant, Ben Yaschik's National Grocery. We were both puzzled and charmed by the patchwork of carpentry visited upon the siding over the years, but the painted ads haunt us more.
M and J is offering shots at the S.C. "Education" Lottery and Camel Wides which we at first took to be the means by which Elmer Fudd might travel around the Pyramids of Egypt. They are, of course, the shortcut to the inside of the pyramid. Yaschik was promoting and suggested that we'd like "Ashley--Real Cream". That could have been a popular cream soda of the day or actual dairy cream. Back in Yaschik's day, Ashley had not yet become a name given to every third child born and could well have been a local product. We could not, however, find anything before 1972 and that was for Ashley's Ice Cream in Gilford, CT, which we think is way north of Georgetown.
Yaschik's other promotions have equally faded into history as have the painted ads on the north side of this building. Old paint like the wood which it covered is far more enduring than the new. Unless it was sandblasted away it usually began to reemerge as the new coatings predeceased the old. The vivid colors endured because they contained the oxides of numerous heavy metals which refused to surrender to sun, rain, wind, dirt or time.
The integrity of old paint reminds us of the endurance of our people, their buildings and customs in Charleston through some three hundred years. The emergent messages from old commercial buildings are faint flickers from a past that won't fully fade away. It would be nice if we could leave a few of these facings alone to lend a bit of patina to the new construction which is just around the corner.