Navigating Five Points
To visit Granny in Raleigh in 1961 was to live large. I mean, after all, within 100 yards of Granny's bungalow was the Hayes Barton Pharmacy, which had a soda fountain that peddled Cherry Smashes for a single buffalo nickel. Pay up five cents, and you would know instant relief from a hot and humid Raleigh summer day.
To get to the Hayes Barton Pharmacy, you first had to saunter past the Piggly Wiggly, where Granny bought the hottest sausage in all of the capital city. Granny never did drive. The Piggly Wiggly was about 40 yards from her front door. Even when she was 90, she could walk that far.
But beyond the Piggly Wiggly, and before the Hayes Barton Pharmacy, was treacherous territory for a young boy. That is where the renowned Five Points intersection lay. Five busy streets met right there. There were stoplights every which way. To cross the street was a monumental deal. But there, on a pole, was a simple red button to push. Push the button, many lights would turn red, and a small boy could then cross the street to get his Cherry Smash.