Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Shopping in then and now

I can do it in my jammies

When I was a child shopping for more than groceries was an event, as dissimilar to the purchase I just made for my niece’s shower as can be imagined.  The event was not my favorite activity. Ours was a one car family for a very long time so riding the bus was involved and once we had moved from Seattle across Lake Washington to Bellevue it meant riding the bus to Seattle.  In those early days in Bellevue there were few shops beyond the five-and-ten variety and one didn’t wear jeans or even slacks.  My mother put on hose, high heels, a dress and a hat and dressed me similarly.  Off to downtown Seattle we went.

Shopping with my mother wasn’t all bad and was how I learned to love chicken salad.  Sometimes we ate lunch at the Woolworths counter (where I also learned to love chocolate malts), but on special occasions we ate in the tea room at Frederick & Nelson and have chicken salad sandwiches.  Tea rooms still make me feel special and I still judge the stuff by Frederick's standard.  It bored me senseless when Mother headed to the fabric department.  First there was the thumbing through books of patterns to find something that she wanted to sew for herself or for me and then wandering through the maze of fabric bolts to choose fabric.  One time when I was about three or four and had been particularly bored, but not whinny, Mother let me pick a stuffed animal from a table piled high with them.  I chose a sleeping lamb—which I immediately named Sleepy—that had a music box that played Rock-a-Bye-Baby.  I still have that lamb although the music box is long gone.

Later Frederick & Nelson built a store at Bel Square and eventually my mother would take our “second car” there in a “house dress.”  Shopping had become easier!  There is a lot about the ‘50s and ‘60s that I miss, but having to drive six or eight miles, park in a parking lot that had to be paid for, in order to shop is not one of them.  I still like to shop with a friend when I’m not on a mission for something in particular, but I love shopping on the Internet.  As a working woman and mother with laundry, cooking and cleaning to do besides my job it is grand to be able to get on the Internet, look for just what I want, and make my purchase and having it sent to exactly where it needs to go.  Not only do I not need hose and high heels, I can do it in my jammies if I like.


Lorrene said...

I loved your view on those things. I remember it the same way. The Woolworth counter was great. In my day the hot beef sandwich was a big seller.

Stephanie Frieze said...

I have fond memories of those days of shopping in downtown Seattle, especially at Christmas with my aunts and cousins, but it certainly is handy to order a silver baby cup and have it sent to my niece with very little trouble. Target has a little restaurant, but it's junk food. I miss the lunch counters and tea rooms.