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Just Outside My Door

January 3, 2014
Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

Christmas Day is over for another year and as much as I enjoyed it, I'm thankful to get back on my regular schedule. Although I still have to put away many of the decorations, I always leave all the snow men and others that relate to the winter season. Then when I begin to see signs of spring, I exchange the winter decorations for those that represent spring. Thus it goes through the four seasons every year. I've had many of the decorations for years, some of them having been given to me by family members and friends. I treasure every one. However that task, whether it's for Christmas or some other season, it's not my favorite thing to do especially since I'm no longer a teenager or even middle aged. I'm just plain "OLD!" But that doesn't mean I just sit around all day even if my daughters did come last Saturday and helped me get ready for our family Christmas. It's just because they are very good gals!

Speaking of shopping, I'm sure you all have noticed the cost of groceries and most other things have increased in recent years. In case you have forgotten, I'll remind you of one of the stores that I used often when I went shopping and how it originated.

The first Woolworth Five and 10-Cent Store in the United States was opened by F. W. Woolworth in 1879 in Lancaster, Pa. Woolworth was born in Rodman, NY in 1852. After briefly going to a business school he tried various enterprises without success. So he decided to specialize in five and 10-cent items and it was a winner. Soon after there were similar stores opened all across America and in several foreign countries. In 1911, it was incorporated and Woolworth owned more than 1,000 such stores and had also added other items such as cosmetics, notions, needle work and puzzles.

Cass Gilbert designed the Woolworth building on lower Broadway. It was an architectural master piece when it was complete in 1913.

At that time it was the tallest building in the world at 792 feet high. The cost of building was estimated to be $65 million as a chain store magnate.

The doorways were open in warm weather, with fans spinning dust, flying flies buzzing, street noises screeching, cash registers ringing, people chatting, bodies sweating and merchandise clattering and clanging.

It even had a soda counter so folk could sit on a high stool and drink Coca-Cola, root beer, ice cream soda, banana split and many, many other things. One could purchase almost everything one needed or wanted. It was the most economic too.

When we were first married that store was where I bought many Christmas and birthday gifts. If I couldn't find what I wanted there, I could find them at the Murphy's store that was very similar to Woolworth's. It was at Murphy's where I lost $100 one year when we were Christmas shopping. In those early days of marriage when we had to stretch our finances, we were very thankful that someone found it and turned it in. One doesn't always find that kind of honesty nowadays, but thankfully there are still many around.



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