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?