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Shopping - through the years

Pictured are some of the photos that I will be showing and hoping to sell at the Medora Cowboy Christmas.

It is the day before Thanksgiving, and yes, I have so much to be thankful for! You might think I should blog about thankfulness, and maybe I should, but I have had a thought simmering in the back of my mind for a week or so now, so I had better get that off my mind.

As we approach Black Friday, our thoughts turn to Christmas and shopping - this made me think back to what I remember about shopping as I grew up. My first memories are of not shopping - the only thing I remember shopping for at an early age was shoes when I outgrew mine or maybe an Easter dress. All my early shopping memories are from growing up in Medora where there was no real grocery store-usually there was a place to buy bread and milk, but that was about it.

My grandpa worked for the state highway department and he was the grocery shopper. My grandma would give him a list and he would bring groceries home from Belfield or Beach, depending on which way he was going on a given day. He was an awesome grocery shopper though, as he would bring home treats, which I don't believe my depression-survivor, economical grandmother ever would.

One of my framed prints that will be on sale at our art show at Cowboy Christmas!

Going to Dickinson shopping was a major event. I am thinking it was probably comparable to nowadays going to Mall of America. Sometimes, we would even take the train from Medora to Dickinson and back. The train stopped in Dickinson right downtown where all the shopping was located and we could walk anyplace from there. I remember the Dickinson Shoe Store with its Buster Brown shoes and amazing foot X-ray machine to check the fit of your new shoes. I remember Woolworths with all its wondrous merchandise and amazing lunch counter. Yes, we didn't go out to eat much either.

There was also a JC Penney's, Montgomery Ward and S&L store, Streifels, as well as numerous others and of course, Sims Cafe, if we didn't dine at Woolworths. Some of the stores had the cool containers (pneumatic tubes) that the cashier would put your payment in and send it swooping up somewhere above to the accounting fairy, who would send a receipt and change if necessary. There were no credit or debit cards.

I was twelve years old, before I ever went to Bismarck. I remember it well as it was a big day for me. My aunt took me along on a business trip and we stayed at the Patterson Hotel where I could walk to the Bismarck Woolworth's all by myself and "shop" while my aunt was in meetings. It was a huge adventure to me!

Until I started earning my own money at about age 11, my own shopping consisted of the occasional candy or pop purchased as Chris Rasmussen's gas station. I was an avid "wish book" shopper. What kid did not look forward to looking at all the wonderful items in the annual Christmas catalogs? There was Sears, Montgomery Wards, Spiegels, and JC Penneys. You could look and look at those wonderful magazines and circle your most fervent desires, and maybe, just maybe, Santa would come through with one of your biggest dreams.

Another of my framed prints that I am hoping to sell.

One of my favorite gifts ever, was a transistor radio, probably about six inches by four inches and a couple of inches thick. Wow! To me it was a miracle! I could listen to the radio anywhere (that I could get reception)! I was fascinated by the fact that after dark, you could pick up stations in Chicago, Oklahoma City and others. I even made a list of all the stations that I could find with their call letters.

This may have been the start of my love for technology, music and news, because by the time I was about 14, I was waiting tables and saving all my tips so that I could order a new, bigger, better transistor radio from Sears Roebuck. That radio went everywhere with me for over thirty years and I still have it. The tuner dial is worn out, but otherwise I think it would work. I looked and looked and compared prices and features until I decided this was the perfect one. I think it cost me about $35, so in today's dollars, it was probably like spending over $200, which was a kingly amount for me!

In my next blog, I will continue reviewing my shopping experiences over the years. In the meantime, I am busy getting ready for my big art show at Medora's Cowboy Christmas on December 4. Greta Nelson will also be showing her wonderful watercolor paintings along with my photography and Sherry Zeiman will have her needle arts products there as well. Just to entice you a little more, it sounds like the Lefse Goddess may join us as well with some wonderful fresh lefse! I am hoping that you can do some SHOPPING with us on December 4 in the basement of the Medora Community Center!


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I tried to comment, but not sure it go on here so will repeat it. Your shopping story reminds me of shopping experiences I had as a youngster. Only we went to Spokane WA. We lived about 40 miles north of Spokane on a "ranch" which wasn't a working ranch but we had horses, cows, pigs and at times goats. My dad worked in Spokane and commuted every day. In those days that was a long commute and we lived in the boonies. About twice a year my mom and me would go in with him in the wee hours of the morning and would walk from his work to down town. A few blocks. He worked in a …

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