A Special Memory by guest blogger, Kris Daniel

by Ben White, Director 9. October 2013 18:14

A Special Memory--Shopping at the Five and Dime

By Kris Daniel

            As I was going through my mother's belongings after her recent passing, I came across a sparkling array of earrings, necklaces, brooches and brackets.  I loved looking at this extensive but inexpensive collection of jewelry--strand after strand of simulated pearls, faux sapphires and bright shiny rhinestones.  One piece, in particular, caught my eye and brought back fond memories of a special shopping excursion to Woolworth's Five and Dime.  

             I must have been six or seven when my dad loaded my sister, brother and myself into the old Dodge and headed to town to buy mom's Christmas present.  Not having more than a dollar or two, we skipped the jewelry stores and headed right for the five and dime.  The candy counter lured us first, with its chocolate-covered peanuts, orange slices, and my favorite, the malted milk balls.  What I would give for a little white sack of that candy today!  But we were on a mission that night, and candy wasn't on the Christmas list.  Down the aisles we went, looking at the hankies with their lacy edges, the white cotton gloves every real lady surely had to have, the stationary, the knick-knacks and the bric-a-brac.   Oh how I loved the figurines.  Surely mom would want a little pink pig, a poodle or a puppy.  Having spent countless Saturday mornings in the store,  picking out the perfect figurine for my collection, I knew just which ones mom would like best.  And they were only a dime, a quarter if you got a really good one!  But we were supposed to be shopping for mom not me, so no minature glass mouse would be going home with us that night.  The baby-dolls, Erector Sets and Lincoln Logs would all have to wait, although I'm certain Santa knew just what we wanted before the night was over.

             It was when dad steered us to the jewelry department that we knew we had struck gold.  Gold and and silver and diamonds--the perfect gift for mom!  And there it was, a big blue brooch, a swirl-shaped thing of beauty.  Mom would love it and surely she would wear it everywhere.  How excited we were to find such a treasure!  And we had just enough money--a dollar ninety-nine.  I don't recall mom ever wearing this precious piece of jewelry but it was saved in its original box, stored away in her dresser drawer for nearly sixty years.  It was a special moment when I came across it and remembered that Christmas shopping trip so long ago.

             For me Woolworth's was a special place--a place where you could buy anything and everything--Big Chief tablets, baby turtles, marbles, crepe paper, jacks.  You name it, they had it.  The store stood like a giant in the afternoon shadow of the courthouse, luring me in with all its treasures.  If I had a dime, or even a nickel, I was in paradise.  Oh, what fun it was!         

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