Notes from Jan

Shuttering Thoughts

January 9, 2019

Christmas decorations tend to hang around New England a good bit past their prime.


Last week I passed by a yard full of inflatable snowmen, wobbling away, while Santa lay flattened, all the air sucked out of him.

Been there.

Like this morning when I read Sears “teeters on the edge of liquidation”, according to USA TODAY.  Early signs came with  the loss of the thick catalog I grew up with, dreamweaver and source of entertainment, if seated in an outhouse for an extended time.

The thing about this wish book, it didn’t  usually matter about getting as much as exploring the possibilities, with the exception of my Christmas wish for high-heeled shoes, but that’s another story.

Before the days of on-line shopping and an Amazon, capable of delivering fresh-cut Christmas trees to your door, there was the Sears catalog.  You could even buy a house from those pages.  Years ago we visited one of the Sears kit houses in Greenville, Illinois.  It stood solid and charming.

Who didn’t have a Kenmore something or other in their home?  My first recollection of one was the Kenmore wringer washer I got my arm caught in, trying to help Mama do the laundry. Daddy’s tool box contained mostly Craftsman tools.

Living in Chicago meant  trips to the Sears store on State Street at Christmas and Marshall Fields.  According to  Sears archives, at this store one could purchase ” tombstones, farm tractors, and ready-made milking stalls.”  They also had a soda fountain, lunch counter and an amazing array of goods, sold by people who liked people and their jobs. Something fascinating about a place capable of delivering a tombstone to your plot or tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich to your place at their lunch counter.

Read about some former Sears employees and retirees, who get together regularly for lunching and sharing memories of a place that cared about them and received their loyalty in return.

Find myself wondering what happened, until I realize how long it’s been since I shopped at Sears, even when it was an anchor store at our nearby mall.

Hard to think I helped suck the life from the place that fed my childhood dreams and helped our household function better through its products.

Makes me wonder about more important areas, where my neglect or preferences shuttered something more important than a store, or lessened the worth of a Book more critical to Life than a catalog.





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  • Reply Russell K Bishop January 9, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    Ah the memories! Reminds of the story of a pastor visiting a parishioner. The mother asks her young son to go get that big book mommie loves so much. He returned with the Sears Roebuck Catalog.

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