A good variety store, like an attic, has everything you remember you need with the changing of the seasons; but unlike most attics, it is organized so you can find everything when you need it. Bruce Variety Stores are good ones. You can tell right away at the Bethesda branch as you walk smack into a rack of refills - for cap pistols, pens, bubblegum machines.

This season, with school starting, Bruce Variety's crowded aisles are a student's dream, being packed with half an aisle of notebooks and a dozen different kinds of tiny memo pads. Ruber bands fat and thin, plain and multicolored.Ten kinds of glue. Manila envelopes starting at two and a half inches long. For many days there are Mickey Mouse pounchos and several racks of activity books: paper dolls, stickers, paint with water, coloring and work books, as well as crafts materials such as felt squares. For party days there are favors such as fifteen-cent dolls, magnets, marbles, real rubber balls, and Styrofoam for making centerpieces. To get ready for parties, Bruce Variety has eight different kinds of hair rollers, ribbons in laces and velvets, with hearts and flowers, and fabrics plain and fancy. Among vinyls alone, there are two dozen sorts. From dog collars to light bulbs. Bruce Variety Stores have all those little things to get ready for winter. And in case you don't really need anything, they also sell garage sale signs.