WE WERE HAPPY KIDS
During the 1940s, where my memories start, downtown was a beautiful place with throngs of people shopping and lovely places to have lunch. E.W. Edwards Sons, Lincolns and Dey Brothers had wonderful Tea Rooms.
Who can forget Woolworth’s with their long dining counter with red spin-around stools where you got their best tasting comfort food for easy prices. I especially remember their delicious turkey with dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce for about $1.29.
I baby-sat for 25 cents an hour, and saved till I had three dollars, then I could buy a beautiful blouse or a nice pair of shoes. A tube of lipstick cost 10 cents.
Other great stores were Chappell’s, Witherills, The Princess Shop, The Three Sisters, Fleischer’s, and Lerner’s. The jewels were Addis and Flah’s. The sales ladies were helpful and classy. To buy stockings of lingerie was a special treat. Behind the counter in rows of drawers they would take out the stockings and lay them on the counter and then put their hand inside to show you the color. You felt so special being treated like this. The clothes we bought were made in the USA, of high quality fabrics and excellent workmanship.
I remember the old method of payment: The clerk took your money and sales receipt and put them in a container and sent it through a suction tube to the upstairs accounting office where it was processed and returned with your change and paid receipt. All cash, no charge cards!
Movie theaters on Salina Street were Lowe’s, Keith’s, Paramount, Strand and Empire. Small neighborhood theaters were the Happy Hour, Acme, Globe and the Turn Hall. Back then, movies were 10 cents and a bag of popcorn, five cents.
And back then, we children played outside all day until we were called in for supper. We played hopscotch, dodge ball, hide and seek, jump rope, marbles, kick the can and we traded our read comic books with other neighborhood kids. When we ran out of things to do – we made up games to play. We never bothered our mothers who were busy cleaning the house and cooking.
WHERE HAS ALL THE LOVELINESS GONE?
My father put a dollar in change in the kitchen cupboard, to be used if needed during that day. My sisters and I each took 10 cents for milk at school, and my mother would buy lettuce, tomatoes or potatoes from the huckster’s vegetable truck which she used to make our evening meal. At the dinner table that evening, my father would ask my mother, “AND WHAT DID YOU DO WITH THE DOLLAR TODAY? Imagine that!!!!!
I recently drove through my old neighborhood on the North Side where I grew up. What a sorry sight, with boarded-up homes and seeing neglect everywhere. I only had wonderful happy memories on East Division Street. How sad.
Comparing the world of yesterday and today is sometimes disheartening. I see children in stores having temper tantrums until the parent buys them what they want, to quiet them, which sets the pattern for more of the same. Some parents are working two, three jobs to survive in today’s world — very stressful.
Yes, time has changed a lot of things. The loveliness I remember growing up seems to have disappeared from some of our streets, in the movies, in our stores, in our homes and in our children. So, I must ask: Where has all the loveliness gone?