Fond memories as era ends in Stenhousemuir

Stuart Barber.
Stuart Barber.

Back in the day, the corner shop reigned supreme – and in my village Sisman was ‘King’.

As the cornerstone of community life, I always thought the corner shop was well named, even if some of them, like Sisman’s, were not on a corner at all.

Generally the first to open and the last to close, village shops attracted generations of customers young and old like moths to a flame.

Like so many others, I was sad to see the Sisman era come to an end last weekend.

I started work there as a paperboy when I was 12 and after Charlie bought me an alarm clock I think I became rather good at it.

In for 6.30am to make up my run of dailies, I would watch from the back shop as a steady stream of dads came through the door for their newspaper and smokes and bottle of Tizer before either heading for the foundry to start their shift or heading home after completing it.

Charlie Sisman had a smile and time for a blether for them all.

It was amazing the amount of ‘goss’ that could be gleaned from such brief but friendly exchanges – I seem to remember not all of it really suitable for ears as young as mine.

After school, I would be back to pack the bag full of evening papers. At that time of the day it was a different crowd, mums buying their fashion mags and TV guides and kids stocking up with sweeties to chew on the way home.

I also fondly remember that Charlie became the hero of every youngster almost overnight when he opened the Toy Box next door.

This veritable Aladdin’s Cave was indeed a magical place of riches that every boy and girl in the village saved very hard to buy something from.

It’s all gone now, and it will be a big miss.