Then to Sears- and we ran smack into Santa Claus, so we had to have a small chat~ Mom
Being one of six children meant that I didn’t often have one-on-one time with either parent. There was always a sibling or two along for the ride. I can recall some specific occasions when I got to go to a special event with my dad, but going someplace alone with Mom was unusual.
Recently, I looked back over Mom’s letters to see if I could find a Christmas kind of story. I found one that she wrote to her parents on December 9, 1959 about running errands with me. I was four years old. The older kids must have been at school, and Mary home with our housekeeper, Helen, whom Mary called “Lolly”.
We lived in New Orleans then, so this story is place specific. I wish I knew more about the shops that Mom mentioned, so I could go back to see exactly where they were. If you’re a current or former New Orleanian, I’d love to learn more about these stores (although I do recall exactly where the Sears was!).
Here’s what she wrote:
“Carol and I made a day of it last Friday- we really toured this town. First stop was a large furniture store ‘out of the high rent district’ – and I do mean out! Saw parts of N.O. I hadn’t dreamed existed. Carol had fun looking at toys, while I started the ‘carpet survey’…
Our next stop was the French Quarter to seek the doll hospital. Carol recognized several places we’d been to the other day, and when we finally found the shop (which was not at all where it was listed in the phone book), sadly we found that they didn’t fix jointed dolls (they just won’t stay fixed – so they gave it up!). That story has a happy ending, too, tho, since our Daddy just applied a good dose of all-purpose glue- and tho the young lady will never kick a football again, she’s very presentable- and Dee is charmed with her invalid.
Then Carol and I went by what we thought was a wholesale grocery distributing shop (we also thought it was right off Canal Street- but it wasn’t! Miles would be more correct!). Well, not only did they distribute, but it was a cannery, too- and nothing would do our salesman but that we take the grand tour. He gave a dime to Carol- and free samples of his wares- and she was enchanted!
We were starved by that time- so off to the Royal Castle for the best 16-cent hamburger in town. Our most interesting lunch companions were a jockey’s wife and two small daughters. Really got the inside dope on the domestic life of a jockey- unfortunately, she had no tips to offer, but said she’d bet money on a horse the day before that paid $65.00!
Then to Sears- and we ran smack into Santa Claus, so we had to have a small chat (I do hope I can find a pogo stick!). You’ll be pleased to know that Carol is now shod in red loafers for play and black velvets for Sunday- and everyone has new socks. Egad, it’s 11:15! Love and goodnight… ”
Mom also wrote about taking the Christmas card photo the weekend prior, and sending them to the printer. In a later letter, she talked about decorating the tree the week before Christmas. She and Dad always disagreed about when to do that… she wanted to have it up and finished early, but his family had always decorated it on Christmas Eve.
Any young person reading this may be fascinated by how “things used to be” before the days of Google, Amazon and such. Yes, things happened at a MUCH slower pace then, and lots of that time was spent exploring, seeking and finding things. One might think it was a waste, but in this particular case, no, it wasn’t. My mom might have thought it was a chore to run all these errands, but to me, it was a real adventure!
(in case you were wondering, I didn’t get that pogo stick until a few years later, and it was one of my favorite toys ever)
pewperson will return on January 4… Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!