SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Grantsville's J&B Drug, Madaline's Smile Remembered


More than a generation of Calhoun natives got acquainted with Madaline. She was the "soda jerk" at the J & B Drug Store in Grantsville spanning 42 years.

Bob Weaver Published 2003

The diminutive Madaline Lynch was much more.

The dozens of Hope and oil and gas field workers, the local business owners and Calhoun's finest politicians, started their day with coffee by Madaline. In later years, the frequent customers had their own personalized mugs.

Madaline also graced the day with her smile and upbeat personality. How could it be a bad day, after passing by Madaline.

"I enjoyed them all," she told me a few years ago.

She started behind the counter in 1953. "It was like home. I spent two-thirds of my life there. Millie was wonderful to me," she said.

"The store often stayed opened, sometimes until 11 p.m. when the movie was out. Parents would loaf in the drugstore while their kids would go to the Kanawha Theatre. People really crowded into town. It was like parade day every evening."

The J & B has been a place of memories for kids and families, mostly because of the soda fountain. It was frequented daily by most of the folks in town. "It was a meeting of the minds every day, with lots of laughs," said pharmacist and owner Dick Jarvis.

Most folks are not interested in hanging out at the drug store these days, although the Jarvis' have refused to give up the counter, although few are seated on the stools.

Jarvis, speaking about Madaline last evening, said "She liked to play jokes on people, putting plastic worms in their coffee cups, and you name it. She was one of the sweetest ladies I have ever meet."

"She was a strong Christian women, and made a great impression on people," he said.

Jarvis said "I'm sure she had some bad times, but you'd never know it."

Madaline said the J & B was a place where dozens and dozens of girls got their first job. "I trained lots of girls for the soda fountain," she recalled. She started naming the "drugstore cowboys" and daily visitors of her recollection, but stopped. "I'm afraid I would forget someone." She said women would come in the afternoon to the "Women's Club."

"Dick (referring to Dick Jarvis) owner of the pharmacy started dating Edna Frederick at the store. The rest is history," she said. She is now deceased.

During my early growin' days in Calhoun, Madaline was a friend and brought joy to my own life over the years.

Madaline's smile went away Tuesday at the age of 84, to remain a pleasant memory.

Madaline B. Lynch