Chapter 11

A POEM BY SAM BAILEY (1924 – 2010)

“A Brief History of the Old Store”

In 1900 was the beginning of Bailey’s store,
However some of us (the building and I) did not arrive until ‘27 and ‘24.

Things were good in the early days
When transportation was boats and one-horse shays,

Progressing fast from farmers and fishers
To land grabbers and Yankee well wishers.

From out of the bay after the ‘26 deplorium,
Came this building, Sanibel’s finest (and only) emporium.

On our store dock came all freight and mail to carry,
And right next to it, the auto ferry.

This was the lifeline of all the folks here,
The meeting place for islanders and visitors far and near.

Our shelves were stacked with supplies and goods,
For everybody coming from the beach or the woods.

From tweezers and needles to double team plows,
From overalls and tools to ladies’ things that were the cat’s meows.

Dried beans, canned beans, slab pork, et al,
Bananas, vegetables, honey and fruit—winter, summer or fall.

Our slogan—and you should really heed it,
This I quote, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.”

Our father and the real father of this store,
Was Frank P. Bailey, but yet there was much more.

He fathered three sons as you see here now, Born,
he thought, to fill his shoes and follow the plow.

But plan and ideas don’t always come out right,
However at the end of the tunnel there was some light.

I’ll get to that in a sec or two,
But then came the Depression and many dreams blew.

Getting the boys interested in the store was tough as a rock,
One wanted to ride horses, another was a jock.

The oldest, after wandering and meandering around,
Arrived back on Sanibel and his niche was found.

After three years he took over the reins—in 1952,
And established a record our dad would be proud of, too.

This old building has seen many come and go,
And it’s great to see these old clapboards again to glow.

For in 1966 she was put to rest to stay,
New Bailey’s was relocated at the corner of Periwinkle and Tarpon Bay.

But now it’s back in its glory and glee,
Here it stands again proudly for all to see.