It’s funny. I remember when the Pear Tree boutique, in Hamilton, first opened. I guess it must’ve been around 1970. It was on the same side of Harford Rd. as the A&P…and for those of you who don’t remember the A&P…the Hamilton Tavern. They sold mostly rock and roll (and possibly disco) record albums, incense, paraphernalia, and cool posters. But they didn’t have a large selection of clothes…not that I recall. Earl Bessler, who lived on White Ave. with his younger brother, Billy, was working there. They lived in the house that was just east of the alley that ran through the back-field. A couple years later, when they moved over to the other side of Harford Rd., Earl Bessler stayed with them. In the new place, they had more room. I’m pretty sure there was a basement level that they turned into a ‘psychedelic space’ with the coolest ‘black light’, or fluorescent, posters that I had ever seen. I can’t really remember whether they had this feature at the first location. But, they definitely had it at one of the locations, if not both.


I bought my first pair of hip-huggers at the Pear Tree. The zipper was about 2 inches long. They were also bell-bottoms. They were day-glow orange and made of a really soft, brushed cotton denim. They got lots of feels from the chicks, too. I was finally cool, I thought, at 12 or 13! Well, not quite cool enough…not yet. But, I bought a pair of “Jack Percells” not too much longer after that. And, if you remember that specific period of time (’71-’73), as a guy, you weren’t cool unless you had long hair, wore “Jacks,” with bell-bottom pants, and a U.S. Army jacket from Sunny’s Surplus. Of course, suede jackets were also cool…as long as they had the fringes. And, I think, denim jackets were acceptable. This is a generalization, of course. There were some who broke these rules, but remained ‘cool’.


My last memories of the Pear Tree include the sale of amil nitrate, (I think that’s right). It was also known as “rush.” It came in a very small bottle, was very cheap, and took you far out of this world for awhile…in very short bursts. It was so volatile that most of it evaporated into the air! It was a notorious killer of brain cells! Then, if my memory serves me, Rush was outlawed in less than a year. Then, so was paraphernalia. Daa…da dum dum…the end of the Pear Tree.