General store museum full of memories, fun, and more
By Anita Benedict
RAWDON: “Come on in girls, I am in here,” calls out Alfreda MacPhee.
The “in here” is a veritable time machine disguised as Macphee’s Country Store Museum along Highway 14 in Rawdon. It is found in the backyard of the home of Marvin and Alfreda MacPhee who for several years have been combing the country side and collecting items of interest to them. The last time this writer had viewed the extensive collection in 2014, it was displayed in the couple’s basement until the museum could be built.
The front porch of the museum is as welcoming as the owners with the colourful rocking chairs that cry out for an equally colourful character to rock and tell stories of days gone by.
Opening the door you may expect a puff of smoke from the time machine as you step into a replica of many an early general store, with a variety to please all.
Stepping though the door, vague memories of a five-year-old self unfold like those on a reel film. A dime held in a sticky hand after the seemingly long walk. An older sibling to curtail what you spend. Five sent chips, bright coloured candy, and a friendly face behind the counter to welcome you.
Each item in the museum has been lovingly collected and means more to the MacPhee’s than just an antique to own. They are memories for themselves and of others that are preserved and can be shared. A calendar from Alfreda’s parents store, items from Canada’s oldest general store, Frieze and Roy in Maitland and the lunch boxes that started Marvin collecting.
Slips of aged paper dangle from behind the counter. They are original bills of sale, detailed and hand written in beautiful cursive writing. Cash registers that dinged merrily, now sit silent.
Toys, sewing notions, medicine tins, tobacco tins, writing implements and even five cent bags of chips await your viewing pleasure. Take a trip back in time with the Sear’s Catalogue where youthful dreams were made.
The colourful array is a lot to take in, but the MacPhee’s are more than happy to share the items and stories with you. They do not have regular hours for viewing as yet, and Alfreda says call ahead in case they are not at home so as to not be disappointed. You can reach them at 902-632-2984.