Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Memories - Part 2 (I think ?)

It’s the late 1950’s, school is out and it's a week before Christmas. It’s present shopping time ! As far as I can remember I usually had twenty dollars to spend on five gifts (Yes, I am a product of the middle class !). Mom would take me, my brother, and two sisters into downtown London to shop, and see the sights.

London has changed since then. Very few of the stops that we made then are in business today. Downtown was where you went as the shopping malls did not then exist until the 1960’s. It was a vibrant place to be.

First stop Kingsmill’s Department Store (the only department store left in downtown) - the “quiet store”. This was the store where children were seen but not heard. Mother went here for her linens. The elevator to the second floor was operated by what I viewed through the eyes of a 10 year old as an old man (about the age I am now I would think). Money for purchases were fed into a tube which went whizzing through pipes to the offices on the second floor. Fascinating. I could spend hours watching those suckers go.

Kingsmills 1950's. The Regional Room, London Public Library.

Bribery for being good (and quiet) was a visit to Kresge’s a couple to stores to the east of Kingsmill's for a glass of honeydew. As far as I know, the only time in the year a greedy little boy could get it.

The Christmas display in the Simpson's Department Store windows was a must see. The Eaton’s display came later in the 1960’s, but we viewed Simpson’s as much superior. So far I have been unable to get a photo of the Simpson’s Christmas window; however, The Ontario Archives have some of Eaton’s.
Eaton's Christmas window display, 1961. The Archives of Ontario.
The store where I did my Christmas shopping was Woolworth’s (F.W. Woolworth’s), a five and dime store that fit right into my budget. It was located right next to Simpson's.

Lastly, off to Young Canada (This is also where the Easter bunny was to be found. The fact that the Easter Bunny was in fact a very pretty young woman probably explains why Dad took us there.) to meet Santa with our lists in hand, and greedy little minds working at warp speed.

1 comment:

Orpheus said...

Kresge's was not 2 doors east of Kinsmills. That was the Metropolitan. You can see the sign on the building in your picture. Kreges was in the nxt block east.