Thursday, April 11, 2013

A to Z Challenge - J

Today for the A to Z  Challenge, I am going to be remembering about Just Looking.

Have I mentioned that things moved a tad bit slower in the 50's?  There were no strip malls, no supercenters, no super malls, and certainly no outlet malls.  There was no internet shopping.  Oh wait, internet?  What is that? What we did have were family run down town apparel stores, 5 & Dimes, family grocery stores, and hardware stores (family owned, of course).

If my memory serves me correctly, the down town stores were open from 9 to 5 every day, Monday through Saturday.  On Wednesdays and Fridays they stayed open until 9:00 pm.  There was no such nonsense as shopping on Sunday.  That was a day of church and rest.  All of this added up to a whole lot of just looking.

We would spend Saturday mornings cleaning house.  After that we would often head to the grocery store, and, if needed, downtown.  It was always fun to tag along and people watch.  We shopped at Lee's, a small grocery store on the corner of Dunklin and High Street.  This was before it became hoity toity, moving to a larger building on McCarty street.  I liked nothing better than hanging from the bars, purpose unknown, outside the store, and watch people  Often I'd know them.  They'd call my sister and me names like Forcky (mom's maiden name was Forck), or would mix our names up on purpose because we looked so much alike.

It was especially fun when we would head down town.  Sometimes mom would shop while I stayed in the car with dad.  I'd make up stories about everyone.  In my mind the teenagers were hopelessly in love.  Women were wearing shoes too tight for their feet, causing them to walk funny.  Men were all professionals, taking time out from their busy weeks to spend time with their families.  The kids were all getting everything they asked for.  I'm pretty sure all of this couldn't have been further from the truth, other than the shoes too small for the women's feet.  That was probably on the mark.  Then we would head to Southside Fabrics.  Oh my, I was in heaven. My love for material of all kinds began at a very young age.  We'd look, and look, and look.  It might take three or four trips before we would decide on just the right piece of material.

Church was also a time for just looking.  I know I was supposed to be praying, but there was a whole lot of looking going on.  The very first row was usually occupied by the family of a local Dr.  They had a daughter who was a few years younger than me.  I did a whole lot of just looking at her and her perfect hair, shoes and clothing.  Her mom had a fur coat that grossed me out.  Pews were not reserved, but they may as well have been, because nobody else had the nerve to occupy their spot. Ladies all wore hats to church, which was another source of wonderment and entertainment.  As I looked at them there were a whole lot of "what are they thinking?" thoughts going through my head.

I'll have to say that my favorite time for just looking was when the stores were closed and we'd go window shopping.  I loved looking into stores like Saffee's, Young Fashions, Jack and Jill Shop, Kress', Woolworth's, Burkel's Shoes, and American Shoes.  When I was just looking, the sky was the limit and I could afford it all.

Do you ever go Just Looking?


Kellie @ Delightfully Ludicrous said...

I don't think I ever do that these days, but when I was a kid we used to go window shopping all the time. I used to love it, late at night when everything was shut, looking in the windows.

Megan said...

I love window shopping, still. And Church is one of the best places for "just looking" :)

Intense Guy said...

I say "Just looking" even today. I think it shocks some salespeople. Most of the time I simply don't want to be pestered/bothered by them!

Anne Mackle said...

Memories are great aren't they? I still go just looking.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Oh what a fun post! Yes, I love to just look. My looking these days, when I'm not people watching, is mostly at flea markets/antique shops. I miss the smaller family owned stores.

Church is still a good place to people watch. There is the woman who has diamonds on every finger that always puts one hand and then the other on the back of the pew and flexes her fingers so everyone will notice them. Then there is the woman who actually, I kid you not, stood up and said she was thankful for the large carat diamond ring that she was able to get because she always wanted one??!! Hmmmm, I could think of other more important things to be thankful for. People are so always fun to watch!

JoJo said...

I have no choice but to 'just look'. Too poor to buy and no room in the house for any more tchotchkes.

AliceKay said...

Nice post. :)

I was "just looking" Sunday.

Osage Bluff Quilter said...

Oh I remember Lee's. Mom and Dad would take a trip there when they had Ham sandwiches for 10 cents. You'd get a whole bread sack full for $1.00 Also when Bananas were on sale we'd go there.

Did you forget about Bartlett's and Peterson Dime store?

I'm loving your memory lane!