Shopping memories

Early Monday morning, I was at the Den getting my ears lowered when Carol and I began reminiscing about the businesses on Scott Street.
I have lots of memories as my cousins lived on First Street and we had the run of Scott Street.
But perhaps my best memories of Scott Street stem back to the Christmas season when my brother and I began shopping for presents on Friday nights when every business was open.
When I was 10 and my brother was eight, my father gave us $20 to shop for family. That was for my mom, my father, my grandmothers, grandfather, aunts, uncles, and more ($20 went a lot farther back then than today).
Music played in all the stores and they all were decorated in a Christmas motif.
I remember being much younger and going into Taylor’s Electric store with my grandfather, who had discovered thin glass birds to go onto his Christmas tree.
I helped him select four—one of which still exists on my mother’s tree almost 60 years later.
It was amazing what two young boys could buy with $20. The shopping was a great adventure for Don and me, and it took us several Friday nights to do all of our shopping.
Budgeting that $20 was a difficult task and in the three years we shopped, we only had pennies left.
At Forsberg and Lindberg, we picked up two ties, each for $1—one for my Uncle Ted and the other for my grandfather. Elderly Mr. Forsberg would wrap the ties in tissue paper, put them in a tie box, wrap them in green paper, and then tie a red string around each box.
It was simple but I remember thinking they looked wonderful.
My mother, meanwhile, liked Dessert Flower bath powder and we would stop into Mr. Jenson’s pharmacy and acquire a Christmas gift box, with powder and perfume. It was our most expensive purchase.
At Wilkins’s Floral and China shop, Don and I would search the Blue Mountain pottery and the tiny crystal Bohemian crystal. Our most precious gift was a toothpick holder.
Mrs. Wilkins dressed it up with some tiny violets and then wrapped it up. It became a permanent fixture on my gramma’s table.
The Wilkins treated we two young boys like adult customers.
When Don and I began delivering the Fort Frances Times in 1962, we finally had our own money to buy gifts. Our sister was seven when we went to the Rijnol Gift Store and purchased for her a Barbie (the store had the exclusive rights to sell that Mattel toy).
Over the next few years, Don and I made several trips back to that store adding to the collection of Barbie outfits and dolls.
Shortly before the stores closed, Don and I would head home, having stopped at Bud’s Office Supplies for wrapping paper and tape. Once home, the card table was put up and Don and I would begin wrapping everything that had not been wrapped by the stores.
It was a big task and then we would hide all the gifts until Christmas Eve.
We might have been excited about our gifts, but we were much more excited to see the look on our parents’ and sister’s faces when they opened our gifts.
Merry Christmas, everyone!

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