“Towns change; they grow or diminish, but hometowns remain as we left them.”

The sun was here a while back but has since gone elsewhere though it is supposed to return. It is one of those partially cloudy days. It is cold, in the 30’s, and won’t get any warmer. The wind is still around. I heard a noise earlier and found Miss Nala trying to get a box through the dog door. It stayed in the kitchen, but I noticed another box was missing. I went into the yard and found the box and wrappers from stolen foods. I did a quick cleanup. Most of the wrappers were old. I have been successful of late in keeping the food safe from felonious Nala.

When I was a kid, winter fun was dependent upon the weather. If it was really cold, we could go ice skating on the swamp. If it was snowy, we could go sledding down the hill. I remember we also built forts in the snow piles left by the plows. One year the snow was so high we built a tall fort with rooms. We used water to make the walls icy hard. The first room was the biggest. That was where we mostly hung out. We’d sit inside and eat lunch. From there a small, narrow passageway led to the next room and another passageway led to the last room. That fort with its icy walls lasted through the winter and was the last pile of snow to melt.

The only chain store in my town when I was a kid was the First National grocery store. The other shops and stores were unique. We had a Chinese restaurant, The China Moon, a McDonald’s sort called Carrolls, Santoro’s Sub Shop and the Stoneham Spa. Hank’s was the best bakery. I used to stand outside by the picture window where I could smell the aroma of bread baking. Grant’s and Woolworth’s were on the same block. I always thought Woolworth’s was the shopping spot for kids, not Grant’s. We had three drug stores, two of them right up-town. Both of those had a fountain. The movie theater was smack dab in the middle of the square. I remember the first time I went to a night movie. It was a fund raiser for my girl scout troop. I wore my uniform and greeted people at the doors. I felt almost famous.

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4 Comments on ““Towns change; they grow or diminish, but hometowns remain as we left them.””

  1. Rowen Says:

    I hated when I knew I had been out in the snow too long and was getting cold and wet but still didn’t feel like I was done.

    • katry Says:

      I don’t think I ever went inside until I had lost all feeling in my fingers and my face.

  2. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    It was cloudy all day but the rain never came as was predicted. Tomorrow is supposed to be the week’s big rain event.

    Yes, I too can recall the time when big box retailers didn’t exist. I remember the first discount stores which were much larger than anything else at the time but much smaller than a Walmart is today. While in college I worked in a discount department store. I worked in the jewelry department which like all the others were leased departments. I worked for a company based in St. Louis. When the department manager had to call his boss in St. Louis at closing with the days numbers his bald head would begin to perspire. This would occur especially if we had a slow day.

    Back in the 1950s and 60s every city had its own downtown department store. In Dallas we had Neiman Marcus. In New York there was Macy’s, Chicago had Marshal Field, St. Louis had Famous Bar. Today they are all conglomerated under the Macy’s brand. The original founders families no longer own or run the stores. The last family member to run Neiman’s was Stanley Marcus. He was known in the store as Mr. Stanley and he traveled the world to buy the very finest merchandise for his customers. As a kid I remember my mother taking my sister and I to have lunch at the Zodiac Room, and watched a fashion show. I have a personalized and autographed copy of his book, “The Quest for the Best”. Mr. Stanley passed away in 2002.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      Today was raw and felt cold even though it was in the low 40’s. We may have rain or snow Saturday. The weather report keeps changing.

      I don’t remember the first discount stores here on the cape. Because it is a tourist area, major stores stayed away knowing the winters would hardly have been profitable. I remember when they finally built the mall. The small one of a kind shops were replaced. Now the mall is like any mall, nothing original.

      I worked in the post office Christmases and summers when I was in college. I sorted mail. It was a great job which paid well for bak ten. Even better, I didn’t have to deal with people.

      We had Filene’s as the iconic department store in Boston. Jordan Marsh too was there, but it was also in Florida. Filene’s basement was world famous. When they had sales, women would try clothes on in the aisles fearful they’d lose what they were wanting to try on. The annual wedding dress sale was a stampede with arguments and pushing. A Jordan Marsh credit card was my very first!

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