My Two Cents: Thank you, Hyattsville! A tribute from 96-year-old pharmacist Alfred Lawson
By ALFRED LAWSON — You may ask why am I thanking Hyattsville? I never lived there, and I didn’t go to school there, but I did spend a lot of time there.
I feel that I owe my long and happy life to the time I spent working there and the success in business I had there.
It was back in 1926, almost a century ago, when my father, Dr. Arnold Lawson, opened his drugstore in Cottage City, a neighboring town. I was only 4 years old then, but as I grew and finished high school, I chose to follow my father’s footsteps and become a pharmacist.
By 1945, I finished my education, which had been interrupted by WWII, and worked briefly for my father in his drugstore prior to opening my own pharmacy. I chose Hyattsville as the location to open my practice in a small medical building owned by a renowned ophthalmologist, Dr. Oscar Lavine, located on Baltimore Avenue just north of Phil Lustine’s new Chevrolet agency.
By that time, my father had established a large prescription business, and the name Lawson had become synonymous with service, knowledge and integrity. That was the reason that I included “Lawson” in the name of my new pharmacy, Lawson & Sons, Pharmacists. I wanted to take advantage of the reputation he had established.
My new pharmacy prospered and grew. My new customers quickly learned that business associated with the name Lawson represented good service and reliability. After 14 years, I relocated the business to Hamilton Street in West Hyattsville to improve parking availability.
In 1986, after 40 years in business, I sold the pharmacy to Rick Sabatelli who wisely decided to let the name Lawson remain in the title of his pharmacy.
I am honored to have my name associated with the pharmacy business in Hyattsville and surrounding areas today and for the past 92 years. I worked hard and long hours, often 80 hours a week, during my many years there.
I thank the many customers and friends I had, and now the children and grandchildren of my original customers that still live in the area. These people allowed me to succeed and have a happy and contented life. Despite my age of 96, I continue to work as a pharmacist, but only part time. I will always remember, it was Hyattsville that framed my destiny.