Saturday, November 19, 2005

A bit of remembering

This morning I was watching "Today." During the show, they went to various department stores in New York that were unveiling their Christmas windows. Those beautiful decorated windows sent me right back to my childhood in the 50's. Joske's Department Store in San Antonio used to decorate their windows every Christmas. I remember waiting with great anticipation seeing those beautiful windows. Of course to a young child, it was not only the wonder of those windows, but the great event that soon followed - Christmas Eve.

Remembering that time, I also remember what a more simple time it was. Perhaps I really remember the "fancified" version that was popularized in TV programs like "Happy Days." Those were really happy days. I felt safe and protected. I was unaffected by what was going on - even the Cold War with its threats of THE BOMB. My memories are like an old Christmas card in which the scene is a little out of focus. Very softened.

Joske's is gone now. Not the building, but the store. Since moving to Houston some 36 years ago, I have only been back to the building once. It is now part of the huge River Center Mall, but the feeling of that old store is the same. I spend many hours in that store. I would get on the bus at the corner of my street and ride downtown. That was nothing new for me. I would get on the bus every Saturday morning for two years to ride to my church located downtown to attend confirmation (I am Lutheran). When I got older, but still couldn't drive, I would ride downtown on summer days. I was an only child of working parents, and I really got bored. SO downtown I went. It was a little walk from where I would get off the bus, but Joske's was my destination of choice.

When I got my driver's license, I would still go to Joske's. I would buy LP's there (for those who don't know they are the bid 33 1/3 records). I had quite a collection although mostly off beat performers. Those records were inexpensive, and I was into the "oldies" that orchestras like "Silver Strings" would play. To me their music was as beautiful as any.

The store is now Dill*rds, I think. But when I went in, I could place where everything I so loved had been in the old store. I really should go back there sometime, but downtown is a nightmare to me now. Everything is torn up for street improvements. A sign of the times I guess, but I hate it. San Antonio will never again be the San Antonio of my youth, and for the city I supposed that is a good thing. If it was the city of fifty years ago, there would be much more poverty.

I still think of those beautiful windows, and wish for the times I would be a small child looking into the lavish designs. I guess I still wish for my childhood. But really that is senseless and silly. It can never be, and I know there are new adventures around each corner coming my way. My beautiful grandchildren share their reactions to this life with me. I can see the world through their eyes - even if for a few brief moments, and it is a beautifully decorated store window with Christmas scenes in it!

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