Beaver Schott's Tobacco Emporium

(by Oldie and Better, 23 July 2002)

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Beaver Schott's Tobacco Emporium
By Oldie and Better

It had been a rough 12 months for Beverly Schott. Her husband died the 
previous June in a traffic accident. What he left in insurance would have to 
go toward college for the younger children, and future needs. Beverly 
calculated that she had better keep the daily operation on an even keel.
She so wanted to maintain the lovely house she and Doug had purchased when 
the entire family was there. Beverley was pregnant with Doug Junior when she 
gave the high school valedictorian speech in 1966. Before the year was over, 
the newlyweds, attempting to make it in college as marrieds, would have a 
She was very pregnant with Donna when she graduated from college in 1970. 
After that, she made having a child pretty much a summer thing. Wayne came 
in 1972; Annette in 1974; Michelle on July 4, 1976; Amy in the summer of 
'78; and Matthew in 1980. For Doug Junior, she missed a semester of college.
Then, it was a well-deserved break before Mindy, Mandy and Sandra, called 
Sandy. She missed a semester of teaching for Mindy's October arrival. With 
the start of the school year in 2002, Mindy would be a senior, Mandy a 
junior and Sandy a freshman. After getting them through college, Bev could 
think about her own retirement.
To make ends meet, Beverley had taken a job as food server in an upscale 
restaurant in her town. She often worked in smoking. Two of her customers 
were Butler and Betty Hermann, owners of a tobacco shop across from the 
The Hermanns had known Beverly through her teaching of their children. The 
were nearing their 60s. While serving their food, Butler said that they were 
about ready to leave the tobacco business and asked if she would like to 
take over what was little more than a discount cigarette store.
Beverley was amazed and amused. They would probably want all Doug's life 
insurance to sell the business. Besides, she didn't smoke, the excuse she 
presented first. "You could learn like I did," Betty said. The thought 
chilled the anti-smoking Beverley.
Butler had the kicker. "You could get in for $5,000, pay us out and still 
make double what a teacher makes." He added: "You know, I wish I could offer 
you a health food store."
Beverley liked her french fries and even the chicken fried steak the 
restaurant offered. With time and money constraints, she often fried foods 
for the family. Doug made a mean pot of chili, too.
Her answer to the Hermanns was "I'll think about it."
Beverly was about to get cut early when this group of nine came in and asked 
for smoking. Nancy, her 20ish supervisor, asked if she wanted that group or 
to leave as soon as she cleaned up. She looked at the group, smiled, and 
said she would take them but to please give all other people to the late 
It was Haskell and Ivy Flannigan and their four daughters, three of whom had 
dates. Haskell was a true Eddie Haskell in school and even named Mrs.. 
Schott, Beaver Schott. In fact, Haskell, now an attorney, remarked that she 
still was a Beaver in his book. Beverly did not object, considering that 
Haskell's law firm might offer a harbor for her rather aimless Amy if she 
ever graduated from law school.
The occasion was the birthday of Haskell and Ivy's youngest daughter's 18th 
birthday. Beverley knew it was Fran's birthday. She was also not surprised 
that Fran lit up upon being seated because she had violated athletic 
training rules by smoking all during the previous school year.
So had collegians Earline and Lana. In fact, Patricia, the oldest and the 
only non-smoker among the girls, was the only on without a date. At 11 p.m., 
she was to go on the overnight shift as a police officer.
Beverly saw the daughters as potential customers in a potential smoke shop.
As spring turned into summer, Beverly and the Hermann's hammered out a deal 
which was reviewed by Haskell before she signed it.
It wasn't long after Beverley opened to a constant request for low-cost 
cartons of cigarettes sales and a few cigars that Ivy Flannigan came into 
the store. "Have you started smoking yet?" Ivy asked. "No" was the quick 
reply from Beverley. "I'm going to." Ivy said. The statement stopped both in 
their tracks.
"Why?" asked the startled Beverley. "My husband gets on me for my weight. My 
daughters say it will make me cool like them."
"You're fine," Beverley said. "But if you ever decide to try it the first 
carton is on me." As soon as she said that she felt like a drug dealer 
trying to get a customer started.
"Ivy sensed the concern in Beverley's offer. She accepted. "Ok, that's what 
I came for. A carton of Marlboro Lights please. Let me buy you a carton, 
"No thanks," Beverley said.
It was almost a month before Ivy came back. "I'm ready for another carton," 
Ivy said. "Can I buy one for you, also."
"Not for me," Beverley said as she ran Ivy's credit card. "Any new smokers 
in the family since you opened your shop," Ivy asked.
"No," Beverley said. "Amy is the only one and that has been going on longer 
than I want to know. The rest of us are either too young or too old to start 
"No such thing as too old or too young," Ivy said.
"Wait," Beverley said as Ivy was leaving. "Let me try one of them with you."
It was a Friday and Beverley had about an hour before daughter-in-law Debbie 
relieved her.
Beverley gingerly put the cigarette up to her mouth and pulled it away as 
quickly as she thought it was lit.
"You may not have it completely lit," Ivy warned. Beverly quickly drew on 
the cigarette, assuring it was lit but taking in too much smoke for her 
virgin lungs."
"This is where you say 'been smoking long,' " Beverley said.
"No," Ivy said. "My first effort went out. I learned. You're ahead of me."
"So, it took you a month to finish a carton," Beverley said as she again 
took a measured puff on her cigarette.
"Yeah, but I'm on a pace to finish in three weeks or less this time around."
"I have plenty of customers who buy a carton a week, some two cartons a week 
or come in twice in a week," Beverley said as she stubbed out her 
half-smoked cigarette.
Ivy at first said nothing. Then she handed over the open pack and open 
carton to Beverley and asked to buy another for her own. When Beverley 
hesitated, Ivy asked if Marlboro Lights were the wrong brand.
"No, it's that smoking is the wrong thing," Beverley said. "The brand is up 
in the air right now."
Later Beverley handed off the keys to Debbie, whose oldest was a year away 
from high school and headed to the volleyball games. Sandy was on the 
freshman team and Mindy and Mandy on the varsity. After the freshman 
victory, Beverly went outside the gym where she encountered Al Delano, 
father of seldom-used varsity player Alice Delano. Al always made all the 
volleyball games he could. He smoked Marlboro 100s at every break.
"My daughters speak of your daughter," Beverly said. "I'm Beverly Schott, 
Mindy, Mandy and Sandy's mother."
"Oh, yes," Al said. "You're a single parent, too. Priscilla and I divorced 
and Alice wanted to finish high school here. So I have her the rest of the 
As it turned out, the varsity game was close and the steady serves of Alice, 
who came off the bench to help the team win. After the game, the season 
opener, the girls and parents adjourned to a restaurant.  Al said he and 
Alice needed to stop by the house. The girls grinned. Sandy greeted her 
mother with the news that she too had been promoted to the varsity.
"When one of the big girls can't handle the back row, I might get to play. 
"They can take me out when I have to handle a good server back there," Mindy 
said. "Me too,"  the taller Mandy added. "Hey, I'm a senior," Mindy said. 
"I'm clumsier," said Mandy.
After eating a dinner and discussing that October babies Mindy and Alice 
might just celebrate their birthday at the restaurant they were dining at, 
the four girls left as Al lit a cigarette.
"I want you to know Alice is out to have a cigarette," Al said. "I hope your 
daughters don't smoke. She picked up the habit while spending the summer 
with her mother."
"I don't think my daughters smoke," Beverley said. "I tried my first one 
today and I'm ready for my second."
The startled Al quickly offered her a Marlboro Red.
Beverley explained that her first effort was a Marlboro Light. "You should 
compromise and have a Newport," Al said, knowing that was the brand he got 
his first wife started on. He added that Alice, too, was a Marlboro Lights 
"Well, I have a carton of Marlboro Lights this friend brought me. I left 
them at the store."
Al and Beverley figured the all clear had sounded by the time they left. Her 
daughters exited Al's car to enter Beverley's. It was quiet at home as all 
went to be shortly after arriving at 10:30.
"I'm going in early tomorrow," Beverley told the girls. "Why," asked Sandy. 
"Well, if you must know, Al and I are going to have breakfast before the 
store opens. Then, he said he would purchase a carton or two of cigarettes."
The girls pondered the possibility that Al might buy a carton of Reds and a 
carton of lights, leading up the fact that Alice was a smoker.
Alice went to the store early and got her Lights and a lighter. She tried to 
act as experienced as possible with Al. She continued to smoke in the store 
even after Debbie came in.
"I never thought I would see that, even though you own a tobacco store," 
Debbie said. "Want one," asked Beverley, as she again felt she was going 
into the drug dealer mode."
"No," Debbie said. "Your son would never approve."
"Well he might approve when he sees me smoking after Sunday dinner," 
Beverley said.
"Besides," Debbie added. "If I smoked anything, it would be a pipe. They 
smell soooooooo good."
"Well, Al is coming to take me to lunch and I bet he could help you light a 
Bev said.
"Al," inquired Debbie.
"Al Delano," Bev followed. "I met him at a volleyball match last night. He 
smokes and so does his daughter but I'm not supposed to know that."
Al, who earlier bought a carton of Reds and a carton of Lights, came to take 
Bev to lunch. Debbie selected a pipe. Al selected a tobacco and lit the pipe 
for Debbie.
With Bev and Debbie both smoking, Bev anticipated increased traffic.
Beverley determined that additional help was needed and it needed to be a 
cigar smoking woman. Can you imagine a classified ad like that, she thought.
Instead, she brought a box of Don Tomas cigars to Sunday dinner at 
Michelle's house. She planted the cigars in the living room, introduced Al 
and his daughter, and went outside for a smoke. She was surprised to see 
Matt with Officer Pat Flannigan as his date.
When she returned, she was passed in the hallway by the exiting Mindy, 
Mandy, Sandy and Alice. She was hit by the aroma of cigar smoke as she 
entered the living room. Debbie's pipe smoke could not hold a candle to the 
aroma of ignited cigars.
"Hi mom," said a meek Officer Flannigan. Bev was not sure what that meant 
until Matt piped up. "We're going to get married, mom," he said.
"Wonderful, this day is full of surprises. Al and I do not have one but I 
need a volunteer."
The family waited for the next word.
Beverley spoke:
"Debbie is smoking a pipe at the shop and I'm getting into cigarettes. You 
all look like overnight wonders with cigars so who wants to join us at 
Beaver Schott's Smoking Emporium?"

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