By 1920, nearly every pharmacy in America had a soda fountain, at the center of which was a tremendous counter flanked by swivel stools, soda spigots and ice cream galore. At this particular fount, located inside Toulminville Drug Store, two soda jerks look on as three girls, possibly sisters, polish off their ice cream cones, treats that would have set them back 5 cents apiece.
The girls’ outfits — crop-tops and play shorts — are indicative of 1940s fashion, and their bare feet are a true nod to summers in the South. The hot, lingering season lent itself well to many a child’s shoeless jaunt to stores or even school. While some kids chose to forego footwear, others, however, may not have had a choice. In 1948, shoes were still seen as status symbols, as not all families could afford to keep up with their children’s ever-growing soles.
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Photo courtesy Erik Overbey Collection, The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of South Alabama • Colorization by Dynamichrome Limited