Monday, August 8, 2016

Remembering "Kids of Degrassi Street" Episode 6 ("Sophie Minds the Store")

I've written before (here and here) about my love for all things Degrassi, the Canadian teen franchise that "goes there." The second season of "Degrassi: Next Class" recently dropped on Netflix. As usual, the season includes a lot of good stuff -- including an all-star reunion of several prominent "DeGrassi" alumni. The season also included story arcs addressing racist microaggressions and teenage mental illness.

You should check out the latest season on Netflix if you haven't already done so. But I'm not here today about "Degrassi: Next Class."

Instead, I'm looking back at Degrassi's past. The franchise started out as a series of after-school specials on CBC Television nearly 40 years ago! "The Kids of Degrassi Street" was the first "Degrassi" program. The first program debuted on September 12, 1979. The program featured many child actors who eventually appeared on "Degrassi Junior High," "Degrassi High," and "Degrassi: The Next Generation."

I have two favorite episodes of "Kids of Degrassi Street" and the first one aired shortly before Christmas in 1982. It was titled "Sophie Minds the Store." Here is the descriptor for that episode:
Sophie gets Chuck to help her out at her parents' store, but the cash is out by $20 at the end of the day. Chuck's father is in jail, so it appears that it must be like father, like son.
And really, that is the gist of the program. Sophie's dad is recovering from a broken back and his mother decided to leave everything behind to visit family. They own De Grassi Grocery, the corner grocery store, and the family depends on the store to make ends meet. Fortunately, they have a pre-teen daughter named Sophie who has great math skills so she plans to run the store during Christmas Break!

And this fact is what I love most about this particular episode. I love that a 10-year-old girl could be put in charge of running a grocery store and nobody really bats an eye. Granted, this was 1982. The world was slightly more innocent. But it was also Toronto. It had a population of 3 million people. It wasn't small-town Canada.  But Sophie knew what to do to get things done.

She handled cash transactions:

She signed for new merchandise:

She interacted with customers and kept the store stocked and decorated for the holidays:

She totaled the daily cash register records:

She even took care of bank deposits:

Notice the math error!!
The only thing that she fell short on dealt with her botched handling of a suspected thief!!

One thing that drives Husband Mark crazy is when my head gets stuck on an idea. Sometimes I think it would be cool to run a corner grocery store. Several of my older relatives ran corner grocery stores for periods of time. And those stores were very successful! And there's even a building nearby where one could run a corner grocer easily. In fact, the building housed a corner grocer in years gone by. Then reality sets in and you realize that those corner stores were products of long-gone generations and that there's a reason why there aren't corner grocery stores around anymore!

But "Sophie Minds the Store" feeds something in me. And that's not a bad thing.

Incidentally, I was poking around the Internet while planning this blog post and learned that Stacey Halberstadt, the actor who played Sophie in this episode, died on December 14, 2006, in Toronto, Ontario. It's unclear from her obituary about her age at the time of death, or her cause of death. It doesn't appear that she was married or that she had children. I offer a belated condolence to Ms. Halberstadt's memory and family.

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