Friday, December 5, 2014

Magic of the Gifts

Ben Franklin (Store #4545) - original design on Main Street
A great store then and now.
Two days before Christmas we shivered in front of Ben Franklin’s Five and Dime.  Dad gave us each a five-dollar bill!  Five dollars!  That meant $25 in 1960, a tremendous amount for him to dole out; $25 could buy six bags of feed for the hogs.

Memory says that the store was packed with people, but with today’s eyes I realize that perhaps twenty people roamed the aisles, five of which were us.  We scattered, trying to be secretive about our purchases, which was difficult.  Mom roamed a bit herself, listening for arguments and eyeing possible gifts for family.  Mom also guided three-year old Mary along and chased after five-year old Bill, helping them make choices. 

With five dollars clutched in my red, chapped and cold hands, I was blinded by all the choices.  Surely, this was more than I could ever imagine spending.  But, almost every last penny was spent, leaving a few coins with which to buy a Hershey bar.


Riding home in a crowded Ford, we glanced at each other and giggled.  In the trunk of the car, five secret-holding paper bags held the magic of the gifts we each would give.  


28 comments:

  1. What a wonderful memory.
    Did you have fun last night? Are you wearing your curly shoes now?

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    1. I don't know how we managed to buy all the presents needed with $5 each.

      No curly shoes, but some great laughing.

      O

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  2. The five and dime...I remember it well. Special memories indeed.

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    1. One could buy almost anything there. The cashiers knew all the parents and could tell each what other people wanted.

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  3. I have pretty much have the same memories, only it was Woolworth. I started saving up my money ($.25 week + any money I got for returning bottles) in summer and it was no way near $25, but I was able to buy something for everybody in my family. I remember getting that super pretty bottle of purple toilet water for my mom.

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    1. My brothers always seemed to have more money from their own resources, but I made do with my $5.

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  4. Great memories like that are awesome indeed. Wish money still had that worth.

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    1. We would need a time machine, I think.

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  5. Love the memories! I remember going to Ben Franklin back in the day. Boy that was a long time ago.♥

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    1. That speaks to how old I am. The 1950s were a magical time in some ways, with Ben Franklin, Woolworths, and other such stores.

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  6. And the best gift of all was the love and the laughter which wrapped and surrounded each one.
    Wonderful memory - thank you.

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    1. Opening presents from siblings was always such a treat.

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    1. Life and love are the driving force.

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  8. The kind of Christmas I would have liked to have. As children we never bought gifts for each other, it never even crossed our minds that we could, we didn't have money anyway and such a thing was never suggested by my parents. To us, Christmas was the time when your parents bought you a new toy or some new clothes.

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  9. Different places, different customs. One custom we always had was finding an orange in the toe of the stocking, along with sticky ribbon candy.

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  10. Brings back wonderful dime store memories! You must have felt like you'd won the lottery!

    Julie

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    1. Oh, yes! $5 was an unbelievable sum!

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  11. I remember those trips too... I specifically remember being very excited that I purchased striped fuzzy footies in a multi-pkg. for my grandmother, lol. I don't remember seeing her ever wear them, but there are plenty of pictures she took where I am!! Maybe I got her the wrong size, hahahaa

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    1. The things we bought were based a lot on the budget, but also the person. I bought my g-pa a pack of cigarettes! Can you imagine that?

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  12. You must have felt so rich and had so much fun. I just remember going to the Christmas Market with my parents. I remember a wooden church they bought that then became a part of our future Christmases.

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    1. I hope it found a new home eventually. A wooden church, just perfect for the Holy Family.

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  13. I remember those days when $5 seemed like a small fortune and to a child it was in a way.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. When ten cents could buy a Hershey bar, $5 was indeed a fortune.

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  14. Ben Franklin! They had one in the town where I went to college. In fact, I just checked online and it looks like they're still there. I think I had my first vanilla Coke at their lunch counter.

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    1. I always bought comic books there and candy. I don't know what I would have done with a lunch counter!

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  15. The magical memories through a child's eyes. The magic of gifts brought back with the reminiscing words. Thank you, Susan.

    Gary

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    1. Good to see your name, Gary!! Memories are worldwide.

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