Boy … does Natalie remember and … LOVE it

Natalie and Dr. Ed

I loved downtown Providence in the 40’s and 50’s. I remember Gibson’s where I stopped for a vanilla Coke every day from school (St. Xavier’s Academy)
I remember all the wonderful stores: Cherry & Webb, Gladdings, City Hall Hardware (where my brother Bill worked after the war, met and married Rae), The Outlet, Shepard’s, three five and ten’s … Woolworths, Kresge’s, and Newberry’s, side by side with Kresge’s in the middle. I worked there part time when I went to school. I was always fascinated by the donut- making machine across from my counter.

I loved the smell of peanuts being roasted in the Mr. Peanut Store.

Mr. Peanut, Of Course

I remember going down town just to walk around and look in the windows.
I remember the clocks in front of Gibson’s and Shepherd’s, where everyone met.

The Shepherd Clock

I remember the comfort station and the warmth when we entered on cold days while waiting for our trolley/bus, and the little cubicle, the size of a phone booth, where the bus starter used to keep track of the trolleys/buses. I remember elevator operators and the iron grate doors they had to open before anyone got out and the announcements they made on each floor, “ladies lingerie” “home furnishings” etc. I remember Santa, at the Outlet Company

The Outlet Company Store

where we went to see the two huge clowns with gaping mouths that held grab bags for boys and girls. One had to purchase a ticket and stand in line to reach in and grab one. Once, after my father had purchased the tickets for my brother and me, someone came by and swiped mine right out of my hand. I was so engrossed in getting into line that I did not even see who grabbed it. Happily, Papa bought me another ticket (surprising cause these were “depression times”). I can’t remember the gift that I got out of the clown’s mouth.

The Outlet at Christmas

The Boston Store and the lady who would play the sheet music for you on the piano.
The Central Radio Store at 200 Weybosset Street where we went after school to choose records and go into a little booth to listen to them. My 3 friends and I would fill that booth and listen to the latest hits. I still have a record duster from there.

All the department stores at Christmas time. The city used to be bustling, even though the stores were closed, with people looking at all the displays.

Yes, I remember …

© 2018