Penny Annie's

October 26th, 2007

Many, many moons ago…

Before I pledged my troth to the country doctor…

Before my uterus was shattered four times in a row by the exact same model of bald, blue-eyed, baby boy…

Before I had the wisdom of motherhood and could force children to eat their sweet potatoes, and film them while doing so…

Before I understood the dementia that accompanies each birth, as the holes in your head, where the babies come out, never completely heal…

Before I fell in love with the steady, rhythmic, calming sounds of a ceiling fan on medium speed…

Before I blogged…

There was Penny Annie’s

Back then, I worked as an administrative assistant at the Lawrence Arts Center in Lawrence Kansas, which was located in the Old Carnegie Library directly behind Penny Annie’s.

I would skip the light fantastic in my cute office girl outfits of corduroy skirts and second hand plaid jackets…or fabulous thrift store cardigans with pearl buttons and sweet pleated wool skirts. I would flit over to Penny Annie’s on my lunch break, order a tuna fish sandwich or a chicken taco salad and sit down to eat by a sunny window overlooking busy Massachusetts street.

As I ate, I watched the world pass by. Executive types in dark suits and sunglasses driving by in their SUV’s. Young moms pushing strollers loaded down with babies, shopping bags and sippy cups. Under-employed secretaries with master degrees in economics or anthropology, buzzing by breathlessly on an errand for their blustery bosses. College students ambling along aimlessly, the light of youth and fun still dancing on their unworried faces. Middle aged housewives with expensive hair cuts and manicures flocking from shop to shop, the sun glinting off their streaky blond highlights. Business men and women in crisp white shirts, walking briskly down the street as if in a tunnel, focused on a distant horizon.

I watched them all and wondered…

What would become of me.

Then I shrugged, wiped my mouth on a paper napkin, bought a half pound of sour watermelon candy, and went back to work.


  • marilyn:

    Oh, Rechelle, I love this! Of course the Arts Center moved…but Penny Annie’s still makes the world’s best limeade – and you can still sit on the little wire ice cream shop chairs and watch the goofy Lawrence parade go by. Love this post.

  • Mary:

    Life was simpler back then, huh? Looks like a great place — pure Americana. Great post! xoxo,Mary

  • Rechelle:

    I thought you might like it Marilyn.

  • Marilyn:

    You know I do! I’m walking over there right now to get me a pound of chocolate-covered cashews.

  • cndymkr / jean:

    When I grow up I want to own Penny Annie’s. jean

  • April:

    “Hi Clay, I just ate a whole pound of candy!” said Rechelle with her mouth full of chewy goodness as she passed by her young brother-in-law who was entering Penny Annie’s to order his favorite sandwich, a grilled steak philly.

  • Renovation Therapy:

    I bookmarked your blog a few months ago for my Mom. She doesn’t know how to leave comments. Anyway…she picked me up at the train station tonight and ALL she could talk about was this:”Before my uterus was shattered four times in a row by the exact same model of bald, blue-eyed, baby boy…”She was practically pee’ing her pants.

  • Rechelle:

    Hi Upstate mom. I am laughing thinking about you laughing.

  • Christine:

    No flippin’ way! My place was called McCord’s Candies. And I would get a tuna salad sandwich and an old fashioned fountain vanilla coke. And every once in a while splurge on some chocolate covered caramels. You’re starting to freak me out.

  • Rechelle:

    No Christine – it is you who is starting to freak me out.

  • Jennifer:

    I happen to stumble upon your website and noticed Penny Annie’s. Not only do I love Penny Annie’s but I worked there for about 6 and a half years. Penny Annie’s is that side of my family that I would love to be around all of the time. I am so glad so many other people have found them and love it too!!