Saturday, April 04, 2009

New "Little" Project

I started a new, little project:

It's going to be a doll quilt. I love doll quilts--you can use a technique or pattern you might not be wantin' to execute in a full-sized quilt.

This little one was inspired by something from my past. (for my sister Janny: does this remind you of something?):
Do you see the little vintage jewelry box? It is from an old department store here in my town, Wolf and Dessauer (called locally, "W&D's.")
Now, maybe you are old enough to remember a store like W&D's. It was several stories high, in the middle of downtown. In those days, you wouldn't think of wearing pants to go shopping downtown. Ladies in their "street" suits or dresses, with gloves and hats. You may be sure that they had checked their stocking seams to make sure they were straight.
No need to push your own buttons in the elevator--there was an operator, who called out the "departments" as you went up: Second floor--ladies shoes, children's wear. Fourth floor--housewares.
If you went up the magic escalator, you would reach the Tea Room, with snow-white tablecloths and napkins. From somewhere below, pleasant music would provide a peaceful background to your lunch. Then, back to shopping!
Maybe you were getting saddle shoes and plaid school dresses. If you were lucky, your Mom would be stopping at the Hat department. So many elegant offerings, but you weren't old enough yet to try them on. Everywhere, even at the hosiery counter, salespeople would exhibit their wares to you--no "self-serve" here!
Perhaps you had such an elegant store in the town where you grew up. But W&D's was different in a number of ways. Each November, the "street-level" windows were curtained, and an air of expectancy began. On the night before Thanksgiving, the curtains were removed, and a Christmas Wonderland was revealed. Window after window with magical scenes. Mechanical figures of animals and people, each window its own Christmas vignette. People would line up on the sidewalk five deep, waiting to see the windows. Inside, lines were long, waiting to see Santa in his own WonDerland. There was even an area where children could shop--no parents allowed.
W&D's closed in 1971, a victim of the new Shopping Malls. Dress codes for shopping had relaxed. Food courts replaced the Tea Room. And, of course, hats were relegated to weddings and such.
Somehow, I don't think that we "progressed" all that much. A kindler, gentler time that we most likely will never see again. But I will have a little quilt to remember them by.

Edited to say: I don't know why my paragraphs all disappeared whenI posted. I went back to edit them, and it happened again. Sorry.


Inglesidemom said...

I always feel I actually lived during that time when I read these little walks down memory lane that you share. I wish things were not so casual these days. So much of the specialness is gone. I recently went to a wedding where half of the people there wore jeans and T shirts!

My paragraphs always disappear - that is why I put astericks between each one.


April said...

That's soooo pretty!!!!

Lana said...

I just happened upon your Rainbow Cottage page from my daughter's blog (The Draper House). Your notes about "W & D's" reminded me so much of my childhood. Do you recall when women bought hosiery in boxes? They were, of course, folded up between tissue paper. I would agree completely. Although times have changed, I'm not sure we could completely call it "progress." I remember the excitement of Macy's window in Joplin, Missouri at Christmas. What beautiful displays they had. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. Brings back so many memeories of mine...the elevators, the perfume counters, the departments on different