Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Friday, March 5, 2010

Woolworth Memories

As I worked on my genealogy the past 30+ years I gathered postcards of places associated with my ancestors and my own lifetime. In the older days I found them by patiently searching through boxes of old postcards at antique stores. I did find some great ones that way, including the location of a Civil War battle one of my ancestors was in: The Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

Now I search on e-bay. Easier to focus in on particular areas like Great Bend, Kansas where my family lived from when I was about 3 to 13. I have fond memories of the downtown area, the stores that lined the streets around the old stately county courthouse. The Crest Theater where I first saw "Snow White" and a magic show with dogs. The bank building with the stately marble columns that later became a jewelry store. And my favorite, the Woolworth store.

I remember that store vividly. The uneven wooden floors that creaked with every step, the open bins that were about waist-high and allowed even a child to look across the store and keep her Mother in sight. The office on the balcony along the back a mysterious seeming place. It was there we went for school supplies, the pink jewelry box that was a treat for "being good" at the dentist's office, my first nylons, and other memorable purchases.

Someday I will find an interior photo of that particular store but for now I am happy to have a postcard of where it sat along the street. I remember walking along that sidewalk in the summer in a red peasant dress and in the winter in a heavy coat and golashes. My Mom and my older sister taking me to that wonderland of toys, crayons and new anklets.

Next week I am giving a talk at ASU on writing memoir. This postcard will have a special place in my story and I hope will inspire others to hunt for their memories in antique stores and through the Internet.