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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sit a spell

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hi neighbors. Have a cup of coffee and deliberate on whether you should turn on the heater or the air conditioner today. If you are like me you may end up doing both.

It is good porch sitting weather though and I hope you are getting an opportunity now and then to just "sit a spell" on the porch, stoop, steps or whatever you have to sit on.

I am fortunate to have a nice front porch and a decent back stoop. Both of which are quite "settable" and suitable to enjoying a cup of coffee in the mornings.

If you think back you'll probably remember many mornings or evenings sitting on some porch somewhere with family or friends just passing the time of day and discovering things about each other you might not have known.

My aunt had one of those old fashioned porch swings on her front porch. I mean the kind that was held up to the ceiling of the porch by chains like a real swing. I stayed with her for several weeks the summer before I turned four.

My aunt and I would sit on that old porch swing on those long warm summer afternoons. One of our favorite past times was sharing the Sears & Roebuck catalogue.

What things could be ordered from that one book! Everything from undies to barns were on display.

Pictures and words told and showed the many reasons a person should buy each and every item. They all seemed to be "got-to-have-its" to me. Pots and pans, fancy dishes, bed linens and curtains -- it had them all.

There were shoes, boots and rain gear in all sizes. "Secretary shoes" as my aunt used to call high heels. There were not any "sneakers" in those days. There were some high top canvass shoes with rubber soles that boys wore when they played basketball.

You could buy fences, gates and even barns or houses! There were tools of all sizes and for all uses. Stay at home shoppers could buy hammers or pounds of nails (who could pay the postage on those?) and new-fangled electric drills and saws.

There were tools for gardening -- and seeds! There were lawn mowers both manual and with a motor -- no riding mowers back then though.

The two sections I always liked best were the toys and the baby items. I liked the baby items because they reminded me of dolls I suppose.

My aunt liked the furniture and clothing sections. She was always remodeling her home in her head, if not in fact, and liked picking out new furniture to remake every room several times with each new catalogue.

Also known as "the wish book" the Sears & Roebuck catalogue was my favorite shopping venue through several years of my life. I still am amazed at those tissue thin pages it was made with. I was always fascinated with those thin strips of paper and wondered how they ever got the ink printed on each side without it "bleeding" through.

Of course, folks with "out-door" plumbing had other uses for the catalogues' thin pages after it reached the listed prices' expiration date.

My aunt ordered me a new dress and slippers once. When the new clothes arrived there was nothing for it but getting my hair all curled up like Shirley Temple, putting on anklets and those little white shoes with the single strap and impossible buckle, and going to get my picture taken.

I have several photos my aunt took with her old Brownie camera of me standing on the steps in the old Stockton Park showing off that new outfit. How she kept me on the steps and out of the creek I don't know, but I'm certain it took some effort.

Once back from the park, and back in the swing, she brushed my hair with her Original Suave Hair Conditioner for Women. You might remember this golden colored thick lotion that you could rub into your hair for "shine and control."

The main thing I remember about that summer is that Sears & Roebuck catalogue, the smell of golden hair conditioner and my aunt taking time to sit a spell in an old wooden swing to share a few wishes.

Nancy Malcom
The Third Cup