Farming, quilting, variety

Monday, September 3, 2018

A Day in Town

Dear, dear Sally asked for another repost, so...

If you remember, I have posted about our family not having a car when I was little. This was somewhat troublesome for us, because Daddy had to ride with his brother to work at the cream station on Saturdays. Since Mama didn't drive, whenever she needed to go into town, she and the girls had to ride in with the men and spend the day, waiting until they got off from work. So our day could have gone something like this:

The streets were always busy on Saturday mornings. Folks had come from far and near and visited with people they hadn't seen for a while. On the courthouse square, a preacher had parked his car, with loud speakers attached to the top, and now he could be heard for several blocks. Few people stopped to actually listen but now and then there might be some old men, leaning up against a store front, cigarettes in hand, listening but not understanding.

Today Mama took the girls shopping for new school shoes for Wanda. "Would you like an oxford or a slip-on?" the clerk asked, and Mama told her we'd take an oxford. Wanda wanted a pair of slip-on shoes. She had always had "good, durable" shoes, but when she stood in front of the little mirror on the floor, and pointed her toe and turned her foot to one side, she had to agree, the shoe did look nice. Mama paid for the shoes and asked, "Now, how can we spend the rest of the day?"

Charlotte was hungry, so Mama bought some crackers and a few slices of cheese for their lunch, and when Mama suggested they sit on the steps of a church building, Wanda was embarrassed. "No Mama! Let's go eat in the car or inside the cream station. Some of my friends might pass by and see us here!"

"I don't want to eat in there," said Charlotte. "It stinks like steamy milk!"

Mama said there was nothing wrong with friends seeing us there, and anyway, the day was so pretty it would be like having a picnic. So Wanda ate quickly and waited for Mama and Charlotte to finish. Mama combed their hair and took them up the steep flight of stairs to Anderson's Photography Studio to have their picture made. Afterward she counted the change in her coin purse and said there was enough to buy tickets to see a movie. The lobby smelled like fresh popped corn and they bought one bag to share. Charlotte soon fell asleep and before she knew what had happened, Mama was waking her up. "The movie is over. Let's go meet Daddy and go home. The old milk cow will be waiting at the barn for me."

A lot has changed around the courthouse square since those days. A few fires took out some of the old buildings which were replaced with big, modern ones. With the arrival of Wal Mart, businesses like the Sterlings store and the Ben Franklin store closed completely as new business owners felt the need to be in the shadow of the giant and moved off of main street. But I miss meeting up with people I know and having a little chat while I'm shopping; too much hustle and bustle for me now and I hardly ever see anyone I know when I go to town.

Has your town migrated from the town square to be near a Wal Mart store? Do you remember the crowded streets on Saturday mornings? I'd love to have you tell me about your town.



  1. I think downtowns are the reason I really dislike Walmarts. They've ruined small town America and that is sad. I remember going to town with my grandma and my mother and we went to several different stores to make our purchases. We'd go to Woolworths and sit on the bar stool and drink a soda.

    I have to say that I do feel blessed to be where we are. We do have a downtown that is still fairly active and its hardly every a time when we do go to town that we don't meet somebody we know.

    I way prefer living in the country but it is nice to go to town. :)

  2. Loved this post.
    Our little town has changed drastically, but not because of Walmart (our nearest one is 30 minutes away). We do have a couple of small shopping centers that have been built on the outskirts of town, so Main Street as I remember it no longer exists.
    Funny that you mentioned Ben Franklin, my ex husband and I owned the Ben Franklin store in our town for years. He closed it when he retired 2 years ago. The building was torn down last year. So sad.

  3. Oh, Charlotte, thank you! I love reading about you and your sister back in the days when you were so young. It sounds as though your mother was a good lady, and a sweet mama. I hope that was the case.

    All I can say about the little town we lived in when I was 10 and my brother, nine (since we moved so much with Dad being in the Navy)back then the town had two drugstores, one gas station, a doctors office and three churches. The most travelled road back then had two houses and a mechanic. Now? It's gone from a friendly little place to horrendousness (is that a word?). Hundreds of people! :)

    The little town where my daughter and I live is small but about to become huge. Wouldn't you know it? :)

    Take care, Charlotte, and keep on re-posting. Music to my ears.


  4. You paint (with words) such a vivid picture of your childhood "Day in Town." Only rarely do we have need to go down town these days, but sometimes it's just fun to "drag main" like we used to do in the good ole' days.

  5. Our little town didn't have a town square, but it did have a grocery store--where you handed the grocer your list and he got the things off the shelves behind his counter and put them in a sack. We had a drugstore/soda fountain, a general store, hardware, gas station and two churches. A couple of years ago, half the block of stores burned--our town was only one block long. it makes me sad every time I drive through. However--ground has been dug for a Dollar Tree going in--at the edge of town, and most of the town people are mad about it. Especially the ones who live around it.

  6. I enjoyed your story very much. It reminds me of my childhood days. We always went to town on Saturday because Daddy worked through the week. Our town square has changed, too. I loved your story.

  7. Love this story so much Charlotte. Yes our little town is no longer little anymore. We've not only got a big Super Walmart but a Big Casino as well and more and more of the big cities like Atlanta are coming in. The traffic is so heavy it's hard to get into town let alone the outskirts and so many new business's have went up. it sure has changed from the days when we all got to go to town once a month to the Ten Cent Store or to get chicken and hog feed at the feed store. We used to meet the old store truck that came by once a week for some things but not every week but sadly those days are now gone and I think it's like that in most places. Thank you for sharing these sweet memories.

  8. Wonderful memory, Charlotte! So many towns now look like ghost towns almost on their town square with empty storefronts everywhere. It is sad to see how things have changed.

  9. I was raised in the same area I live now....and with the last few yrs and people migrating to Nashville Tn, we have been growing and changing....more so the. I care for.

  10. I enjoy reading your post. I wore oxfords too. I even wore my sisters handy me downs. She was way older then I. Kids laughed at me. Called me the handy me down kid. Stores in my area back then was Woolworths . it was like real cheap. Like things 5cents to a dollar. Had clothes cheap. I went on Saturdays also. Took the bus my Mom did not drive.

  11. Hey Charlotte, I'm back home but haven't made a post yet. Was just thinking about you, and hoping you're doing well. :)