Louise Poole

Co-proprietor of Cheez Pleez, Hickory Smoked Products: 

"The 'Bet Your Life' store wasn't what was there when the mall opened, but it sure did the business once it got rolling," she would say, resting a reflective hand on her hip and offering the customer some sample salami. 

"Still would. It's beyond me how those young girls would throw away their future, tempt the devil like that." 

"I knew something big was going on when the crowds started lining the hallways. Except for the time Annabelle closed the store in the afternoon, the lines were quiet and orderly. You would have thought they were in the library." 

"What it is, is, you bet against the thing you don't want to happen, or something like that. Real money, I mean. Kids these days have too much money to spend." 

"Annabelle said it was something like a pineapple, the way people found ways to get money."

"At the start, Annabelle and I were real good friends. She's a bit done up, of course, for my taste, a bit flouncy. Joe kept saying that she ought to sell lingerie and we'd all get rich. He's a kidder.

We--Annabelle and I--we would have coffee at the Copper Penny and laugh about that. Before she opened, when she was redoing the Buster Brown Shoe Store, I asked her why she was leaving the front of the store so plain and ugly, and then painting sea shells, and daisies, and funny squares and spirals--but only   in the back room. She called it 'Liberace', I think. She was a strange one." 

"So that was the day--I remember she was wearing her orchid silk blouse, pink-tinted hose. I asked, 'So what are you going to sell? When will you be moving in your inventory?'  She said she didn't have any inventory. She told me she was selling dream insurance. I thought that was some kind of product, like cosmetics. I told her that was real good, everyone I knew spent money on that--ha ha. I am usually a good judge of people--but, well...." 

"The thing of it was, she was selling insurance, insurance against what was supposed to happen to you. Just like that. And people bought it. They bought it." 

"Some people just let you down, you know?" 

"I always said there was something unnatural about a store with nothing in the window and all the decoration in the storage room."