Arguably there is no catchier, kitschier symbol of the American spirit than a lemonade stand. It represents not only a way of life, but a way of making a living. It is capitalism and leisure, refreshment and resourcefulness, enterprise and summer skies all squeezed together — stirred in with lemons and sugar and water — and sold by the glass for whatever the market will bear.
~National Public Radio, reporter Linton Weeks, July 19, 2011
Ever since there were lemons and kids with an entrepreneurial spirit, there have been lemonade stands. Ron Shirk (seated), with his friend Leighton Johnson spent a summer afternoon selling the cold beverage to his neighbors on Casco Avenue in the late 1930s. His gross earnings for the effort? 35 cents, his mother Lala recorded in the family scrapbook.
Here's a closer look at the young CEOs.
About 40 years later his daughters Diane and Lisa (pictured below with friends) followed in his footsteps, selling Kool Aid from their home at 4512 Parkside Avenue. They don't recall their earnings, but at 2 cents per glass they couldn't have turned a profit.
But making money is hardly the point of kid lemonade stands. Sipping cold drinks, sitting in the shade and hanging out with friends on a hot summer day is all the reward any kid needs -- regardless of the decade they set up shop. Getting a few coins from indulgent passersby is a bonus.
I should create a bumper sticker that says, "I Brake for Lemonade Stands." Because even when the liquid is lukewarm and watery, I always buy a glass. There's no cheaper way to make a child happy.
Ron Shirk and Lisa and Diane Shirk are among the children of various generations featured in our current "Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhibit." Museum hours are Thursdays, 9 a.m. to noon, and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon. Admission is free. We will continue to add stories to the web site and the exhibit, so please share yours with us. For more information, email me or comment here.
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