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Many lessons learned at the local five and dimes

May 17, 2017
Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

In my long-ago childhood, only the downtown sections of the city held true department stores.

Out in the suburbs, where most of us lived, clusters of small stores served the needs of the community. And every store had a general focus.

If you wanted bread, you went to the bakery or the nearest small grocery store.

For bolts, tools, or paint, the local hardware was the answer.

The neighborhood drug store specialized in filling prescriptions. The news stand had magazines and the latest papers.

For anything automotive, a stop at a nearby gas station would often solve the problem.

But in those days, every community had one special store that was home to a delightful selection of the little necessities of life. It was here you could find embroidery thread and emery boards, pencils and piece goods. And, best of all, from a kid's perspective, this was a place where a quarter represented real spending money,

This neighborhood wonder was simply called the Five and Dime.

Only a few blocks from our Fort Worth home was Mott's Five and Dime. It was an old-fashioned store-front style emporium, packed to the ceiling with treasures.

Mr. Mott, who had run the store alone as long as anyone could remember, was a thin, graying man with slender arthritic hands. He spent his days at the counter by the door, where he presided over the ornate cash register and the glass-topped candy counter.

Though he worked alone, no matter how busy he got, Mr. Mott never rushed his smallest shoppers. He treated the neighborhood children with the same patience, consideration and respect he gave to the grownups. As a result, we children learned to be considerate and respectful to him.

Mott's Five and Dime was a routine Saturday morning stop for the kids in my crowd of pals. As soon as we got our allowance.....usually a shiny quarter.......we would walk to Mott's. Along the way, we would discuss the neat stuff we might buy. I'm sure we felt the same excitement the high rollers on Wall Street feel when a deal is in the works.

Sometimes we browsed through Mr. Mott's store for hours. But, when at last we left, each of our little group carried a brown paper bag filled with new-found treasures. And we wore the satisfied smiles of successful shoppers.

Those long-ago Five-and-Dime days taught me many things. I learned the value of planning ahead, of saving a few quarters for larger purchases. And I learned how enjoyable it is to shop with friends.

Shopping on the internet is convenient. Shopping local sales with friends makes for a fun afternoon. But I haven't found anything to equal those Saturday morning trips to Mott's Five and Dime with a shiny quarter in my pocket.



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