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The Fun & Joy Of Woolworth's & Kresge's

Woolworth's Montreal
Woolworth's Montreal

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Going downtown to shop with Mom was a major event every few weeks.  Our four huge department stores aligned themselves neatly on Rue Ste. Catherine, with Eaton's beginning the walk, located beside the two huge variety stores, Woolworth's and Kresge's.

When you are four or five, these stores seem even huger. I could not imagine any store more interesting than Woolworth's with its rich variety of products.  In a distance corner, blue budgies and yellow canaries sang their caged songs. Yes, real animal life.  Turtles crawled in circular globes, and goldfish too swam in rectangular tanks beside them.

"Cruel to keep birds in cages," Mom said, denying me a bird of my own. "Besides, one dog is enough for any household."

Past the gaudy cosmetics with new colors of purple and orange lipstick and nail polish, to the huge toy section.  I liked the smell of crayon boxes and the blankness of coloring books, and the stands of Little Golden Books.  It was the doll clothes that most interested me.

The dresses hung on pastel pink and blue hangers, and the white nylon socks came in transparents sacks.  The black rubber shoes with ankle straps mimicked our own real shoes.
After I studied the clothes for my dolls, I checked out my other favorite, paper doll books.

Our counters served lunch to thousands of downtown workers, secretaries and filing clerks and retail store workers, and the sound of dishes clanging and cash registers ringing punctuated our meal time.  Later I would graduate to hot dogs, French fries, and chocolate malted milk shakes, but then I ate healthier food.

Grilled cheese sandwiches, with a slice of dill pickle on top. And for dessert, Boston cream pie.  Mom ate club sandwiches and coffee in a sturdy white cup. As we left, we passed the cake counter, with its efforts to lure in child consumers, and a favourite of my friends was an ugly looking cake with a plastic doll stuck right in the middle of the flour and sugar. Fortunately, no one had invented butter or cream substitute, and all the icing was made of real butter and real sugar.

Clutching my small purchase of doll clothes items, we happily made our way back to our safe life at 91 Rue LaPalme. 

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Lamma Island * Lantau Island * Cheung Chau Island
Hong Kong * Mui Wo * Peng Chau Island
Tung Chung * Shenzhen * Nanning * Hunan Province
Bobcaygeon * Pointe Claire * Montreal
Peterborough * Lake Sturgeon * Ontario
Vancouver * Richmond * British Columbia

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