“Hometown is where my story begins.”

We’re still stuck with a cloudy day and a chill in the air. The high will only be in the low 60’s, and the clouds will hang around all day. Today is an ugly day, a socks and sweatshirt day.

My uke and I will be busy this week. My dance card is filled with uke events starting tonight with my usual practice. Tomorrow is my lesson and a concert. The second concert is Saturday. When will I fit in my naps?

When I think about growing up, I remember walking and biking all over my town. I used to go to the square. Back then it was filled with stores. My favorite was Woolworths. It seemed like a kids’ store with its toy counter and comic books on a spinning rack. The floor was wooden and squeaky. The shelves too were wooden. None of them were tall. I’d have a dime. I could buy a comic book or a balsa plane or even jacks. There were yo-yos, but I was really bad with yo-yo tricks, no sleeping and no walking the dog. If getting knots in the string was a trick, that one I could do. Most times I’d buy a comic book. It lasted. Balsa planes didn’t. Jacks were my second choice. My mother had taught me jacks, and I never could beat her. I used to get them in my stocking and sometimes my Easter basket so I had assorted jacks and small red rubber balls stored in cigar boxes. I’d spin the comics carousel and then pick my comic book. I was partial to Little Lulu, Archie, Casper or Superman. I remember stopping on my way home to sit on a bench by the town hall to read my new comic.

At the drug store, I’d sometimes sit at the soda fountain and buy a vanilla coke. I’d watch my coke being made with a squirt of coke syrup, some vanilla and soda water. I always used a straw, back then a paper straw. My favorite stop was Middlesex Drugs. It was the best with its marbled topped soda fountain and spinning red covered stools. I always shopped there at Christmas for the usual, a handkerchief for my father and perfume for my mother. I doubt my mother ever used the cheap perfume, but she always gushed when she opened the present.

Now, the only places where I enjoy shopping are the small shops, the one and only shops though I make one exception, the Ben Franklin store. It is a throwback. I swear it was a Woolworth’s in its other life.

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2 Comments on ““Hometown is where my story begins.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today was mostly sunny with a high temperature of only a cool 94°. We are now coming into the season of cooler temperatures and our second highest month for rain, October. October 21, 2019 we were hit by a tornado in our old neighborhood in North Dallas. We lucked out suffering only one broken window. However, the roofs were ripped off the condominium buildings within 1,000 ft. of our front door. We had no power nor internet for several weeks.

    When I was a kid, my mother used to call those variety stores, “The five and ten”. Here in Texas people called them, “The dime store”. What did you call these stores when you were a kid? Unfortunately, the largest chain of variety stores, Woolworth, is no more. The closest thing today would be, Walmart. The retail industry has completely changed since the middle of the last century. Names of local department store chains such as, Foley’s in Houston, Sanger’s in Dallas, Marshall Fields in Chicago, and Filene’s in Boston are all now gone or renamed Macy’s. They struggle along trying to fend off Target and Walmart.

    I don’t know if the department store will survive since the founding of the online juggernaut, Amazon. Shopping at small retailers is one way to keep these small stores open. Amazon makes it so easy to order stuff, have it delivered the next day, and they have convenient return desks at the rear of Kohl’s department stores.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      My house was cold today. I bundled up. When I went out, I wore my socks and sweatshirt. Tomorrow will be in the low 70’s, what a change from today. It will be the same on Thursday. I need to put in storm doors and change my clothes from summer to winter. They’ll be my weekend projects.

      We also used to call them the five and ten. It must be an East Coast thing. That Ben Franklin I mentioned is just like being in a five and dime. I haven’t been there in a while so when I bring my laundry to Chatham, I think I’ll just shop a bit there. Jordan Marsh is what was taken over by Macy’s. My mother got her first credit card at Jordan’s as did I. That was where we went to see Santa. Jordan’s had the best looking Santa. They also had a girl/boy scout counter for uniforms and equipment. Macy’s is the main store at the mall in Hyannis. I have only been to the mall in the last few years to play my uke.

      Puritan Clothing in downtown Hyannis has been around since the 50’s. It has always been upscale. My brother before his jeans and wool shirt transformation loved clothes from there. I went there a few years back to shop for Christmas, but it is now priced out of my budget like shirts for $100.00. It looked busy. I’llj ust window shop!

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