|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.