This is a nostalgic post about the many days I spent with my mother doing
errands with her. I was blessed to be the only girl, my brothers were not
interested in tagging along with us. Ever!
My father was put in charge of the ‘boys,’ while we sometimes dressed up
and went to the downtown Sandusky shops. Then, when I reached third grade,
we sometimes ventured off to downtown Cleveland. The big stores, like The
May Company, Halle’s, and Higbees department stores. Each had their own
luncheon menus, nice dining rooms and calm, quiet atmospheres. It was so
indulgent of Mom to treat us to a nice meal out.
There were other errands, like to the individual stores, where you would go
into, just to make one or two purchases. Not like today, the one stop shopping
experience! Nor were we yet, going to malls to search for necessary items.
In the paint store, we would look and look through colors of paint chips.
Sometimes those strips were available, but not sure when the time frame
was that they arrived at the paint store.
We also would go in antique stores and look all around, sometimes only to
purchase one vase or gift for my aunt, one of mother’s friends or for one of
the book shelves or display shelves in our home. I liked when we looked at
odd things, like tiles that were taken out of an older home, headboards or
frames for paintings. I had only two things I collected which were place card
holders and birds of all kinds. I normally would just look, unless my birthday
or Christmas were approaching. I was not one who would ask for anything,
though. Somehow, I just liked to look at all the pretty and interesting things.
At the fabric store, where all sewing items were sold, we would spend hours
pouring over the patterns for ‘back to school’ clothes, for her and for me. She
and I wore matching clothes to church sometimes, but while we were in two
different school districts, it never worried or embarrassed me to know that
my Mom may be wearing the same fabric and pattern, only a whole different
size! My favorites of all the parts of the store, were the turning racks of cards
with buttons on them. I also liked choosing rick rack for the edges of skirts.
One wonderful and sensory memory, was the smell of the fabrics! While men
may be excited about the scent of the ‘new car smell,’ I still love the smell of
textiles! The final nice memory, which really came flooding back to my mind,
today while quietly visualizing my experiences of errands is using the sense of
hearing. This is a sound which came resonating and reverberating back to me:
“Thump, Thump, Thump!”
The big bolt of cloth being unwound from its cardboard base.
Followed by the unmistakable sound of the fabric shears slicing through the fabric,
going along the weave, or the ‘bias’ of the fabric.
Then, the sales clerk, folding the fabric up, tabulating the items that went along with
it, buttons, thread, lace or rick rack, and the patterns. (Sometimes a zipper was also
Carefully gathered, placed into the bag. Sometimes it was a paper bag with handles, in
later years, it was a plastic bag.
If we were running to the grocery store, on a whole different day, we may not get so
dressed up. This may just be pants or shorts for me, a nice clean top inspected by my
Mom. My mother wore dresses through until the 70’s, for her wardrobe for ‘going out’
in. Then, there were pant suits, matching items.
Mom’s choice of makeup meant, a mirror came out, a lipstick was smoothed over her
lips, her face powder was applied, and then rouge.
She has still ‘Bette Davis’ eyes, which don’t need any mascara and she hardly ever chose
to wear eye shadow, either!
When you think of ‘errands’ you ran, with one or both of your parents, what senses seem
to be important to your memories?
What is a memory that is so fresh that you can remember many details to it?