For some reason I have been caught up in nostalgia. Driving my truck the other day, I was listening to this banter between two radio personalities from some station…not sure which one…and they were talking about do you remember? The one radio host began their talk by recalling shopping at Zellers, an old department store, of all things. You know the one; it was a general discount department store that could be found in every mid to city sized community in and across Canada. It had a restaurant attached called the Skillet, with its grab food behind the glass experience. And Zeddy the bear advertising their slogan “the lowest price is the law”. Okay why do I remember that. I thought Zellers was long gone!! Apparently there are still two left somewhere in the States. Anyway the store is not being resurrected – no. It was a woman sending in a commentary about missing the good old Zellers. I smile because I’m remembering Zellers and Kmart too. Those two stores were my go to stores when my daughters were little girls, many moons ago. If one store did not have it, the other store would and vice versa. And it was cheap to shop. Ahh…the good ole days. Wasn’t there a Towers too?!
Which led me to thinking about Sears and Eaton’s. They were the bomb of department stores. Certainly not like a Saks or Bloomingdales or Maceys. Watch too many movies. Anyway in little old Canada, Sears and Eatons just had everything…everything out of my reach, that is. But boy, that was okay because both stores just made you feel happy (or at least the ones that I went into). Walking around each store, looking at the way they displayed things, create an impression of style and flash. Caught my attention. Although I never partook as my girls would attest to. They are so better at fashion sense and style.
And Christmas season. Whew!! Both stores went to town. They had the best displays bar none for Christmas. The smells of the scented pine cones and peppermint comes to mind. And colour. Latest and greatest fashion sense in home decor of Christmas delight. But the big attraction for me was and will always be the trees. They came in all sizes and kinds with joyous splendour in decorations. Oh my goodness. It felt like I was in the final scene of the movie Miracle on 34th Street, where the couple and little girl walked into this beautiful cottage mansion type home and went into the living/familyroom. Do you remember that scene? Well let me tell you the room was decked out with the finest images of tradition and modern and rustic Christmas warmth; so inviting. And every year, Sears would have that huge Christmas catalogue that I could not wait to get my hands on. It used to come and be dropped off on our doorstep and then they changed it, you had to go in to get one. But I would spend hours just looking at the catalogue, getting ideas for Christmas. It was well worn for sure. And funnily the girls when older loved to look at it too. I would even find little check marks or initials of things they would like to have. Good plan girls. Sneaky.
Then I think back to all kinds of stores that used to be in towns and communities in my neck of the woods during my childhood and early adult years, common fixtures of any downtown such as Woolco, Woolworths, Woodwords, Bi-way, Radio Shack , White Rose, A & P, Marks and Spencer or Consumers Distributing. They probably date me too. LOL. Which reminds me of recent ones that are no longer like Future Shop or Blockbuster (oh I miss the bagged movie popcorn) or HMV or Sam the Record Man (great music deals). I thought a movie rental store would be forever. Oh I miss going through the movie aisles with the girls. How things have changed? Here today, gone tomorrow.
But now I feel badly because today, there are some stores and businesses in this pandemic time of our lives that will be gone before they even had a chance to really take off. Not alot of memories will be attached to them to recall do you remember. What stores or businesses are going to be able to ride the wave, the after affect of the pandemic, and come out on the other side? Buy local is the mantra of the day from all areas of communication: social media, ads, radio announcements, newspapers, television, neon signs…you name it BUY LOCAL. Yep.
I’m recalling this conversation I head about a month ago between a cashier and customer which had caught my attention. They were talking about buying local and saying that as Christmas draws near, you better get things now; very little will be accessible or available come Christmas time. The cashier thought that the products people want may not be available as it is so difficult to get things from the makers of items. Layoffs and such, companies working at half capacity. Just think of the paper towel, toilet paper and disinfectant frenzy not too long ago. Could not get the items for love nor money? So many people have turned to on-line shopping like Amazon and Prime, purchasing items on-line rather than shopping local. Just go to your local post office and see the names of the side of the boxes from the stacked boxes lining the walls. I guess being cooped up in your home or dwelling for periods of time, the alternative would be to shop safely…click click click purchase…delivered. It is absolutely amazing how pervasive the pandemic has become, taking roots into the practices and behaviours of our way of living.
Anyway it has been kind of interesting going back to those remembered places. Not sure why I remembered many of them but it seemed like I would think of one thing which led me to another and then to another. LOL. It reminds me of the movie Slumdog Millionaire where the young man, after answering the questions correctly again and again, had arrived at each answer because of his lived experience with each particular question given to him. Holding onto memories…connect connect connect. Like the W stores…thought of Woolco which led to Woolworths and so on. You tell two friends and they tell two friends and so on…. LOL.
Keeping nostalgia alive. Blessings to this day.
Let us keep those in our thoughts and hearts with prayer today.