By Karole A. Thompson Messier
My mother, Ruhie Carpenter Thompson sold the Thompson Tavern (now Doyle Apartments) to Percy Solger. At the request of Mr. Robert Sharpe, my mother went to manage the Bridgewater Drug Store in the early 1940s where she remained for nine years. The Bridgewater Drug Store was not a true drug store with a pharmacist. The prescriptions were called into pharmacists in Woodstock by the physician and filled in the Woodstock pharmacies. A runner would deliver the pertinent prescriptions to the Bridgewater Drug Store where the intended patient could come in and pick the prescription up. There was a counter in the back room of the drug store where the prescriptions were kept on a shelf until retrieved.
The Marshmallow Mist Tin was a part of the history of the Bridgewater Drug Store. There was a counter with stools and an aisle with another counter where a round very large heavy glass marshmallow jar was being held. It had a metal shiny top. The top was divided in half, so you only had to scoop out the marshmallow from one side at a time. One reason I remember so much about this marshmallow jar is because I spent a fair amount of time there during the nine years my mother managed the Bridgewater Drug Store and I have a fairly good picture of the Bridgewater Drug Store imprinted in my mind. The story she told me about the jar was that some young boys came in and told her they had a snake in their pocket. My mother was deathly afraid of snakes, and she told me she told them if they took the snake out of their pocket, she would throw the marshmallow jar at them. They did not take the snake out. My mother had gone to school with a least one of their fathers, Russ Woods and she told Russ what the boys had planned to do. Many years later, Charlie Astbury confirmed this story as he apparently was involved in the incident. He said they were all admonished by their fathers.
The Marshmallow Mist came in this large round tin and was manufactured by the Friendly Products, Co. at 133 Bedford Street, Boston, Ma. The tin has directions on how to mix the Marshmallow Mist. “The original light textured Marshmallow. For Sundaes: diluted with simple syrup to desired consistency. For ice cream: add 10% Marshmallow Mist to mix either in making (missing word on label) at freezer.” Many of the confectionary establishments in Boston no longer exist as they were bought out by the larger companies. No further information was found on the Friendly Products Co.
A side note concerns the Bridgewater Drug Store counter. My aunt, who worked in the Showroom next door to the Bridgewater Drug Store, told me Norman Rockwell used to stop in for lunch on his way to Woodstock to visit a friend. She said he had used the likeness of the counter in the Bridgewater Drug Store in his painting of the little boy and the policeman seated at a counter. I think that painting was titled “The Runaway.” A few years ago, I stopped at the Norman Rockwell Museum on Route 4 to inquire if this could be verified. It could not, but I was told Rockwell often used things he had seen and put them into his paintings and would adapt to fit the picture. The last known whereabouts of the counter was in the Olmstead barn over Sharis Restaurant. The color of the counter was a medium-colored stain not sure exactly what color. The color in the painting shows a white counter.