Stacks of catalogs earmarked for further review. Oh what fun to sit in the kitchen, after the kids went to bed, and pour over the Alden's catalog. I usually started in October, when the catalogs first arrived. It was wonderful to see what my $10 per month charge account could buy. The children came first, and then all of the other relatives. For $10 per month I could buy up to $300 worth of merchandise. The interest wasn't so great and I could have it paid off by the next Christmas -- if I paid a little extra each month.
The baby doll on the cover of this catalog is what was available -- until Barbie came along about 1958. Alden's is where I bought my oldest daughter her first Barbie. It was revolutionary to see a doll that looked like an adult.
What? I was able to buy a little girl's winter coat for under $12? It seemed like an everyday thing then, but looking back now, 1/2 a century later, it is unbelieveable. Of course, $100 a week pay was a top notch job in those days. A brand new car sold for under $2000? That was the price then, and those same cars now (if you are lucky enough to own one) go for in the 10's of thousands of dollars.
So you may ask, "Why bring up these old memories and times?"
Because we are blessed with that wonderful gift called memory for just this very purpose. To share history and not relegate the past to a hidden corner. To be joyful about the life we have lived and the things we have experienced.
Of course, there was the struggle to make sure the payment could be made every month. There was the hope that an errant child would not come wandering into the kitchen and catch me shopping. There was the suspense of when the postman would come with the order from Alden's (hopefully before the kids got home from school). There was the wondering of where would be a safe place to hide the presents until Christmas Eve, etc etc etc. It isn't that much different than today, right?
I wish for each and everyone of you the luxury and blessing to be able to do the same with your memories. To relive those evenings of deciding what to buy for Christmas and remember the time and place of that experience is fun for me. Patj