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NICKEL and DIMIN' IT

by Eva Pasco 

 

Woolworth StoreWoolworth's was one of the original American five-and-dime stores. The very first Woolworth was founded by Frank Winfield Woolworth in 1878 on a loan of $300.  It was one of the first American retailers to display the merch on counters for the shopping public to handle and select without the assistance of a sales clerk.  I daresay this notion launched the nation’s unabashed “Shop Till You Drop" legacy.  Woolworth's eventually incorporated lunch counters.  The one in  Greensboro, North Carolina gained notoriety on February 1, 1960 when four African-American students sat down at a segregated lunch counter and were refused service.  This sparked six months of sit-ins and boycotts, marking it a landmark historical event in our nation’s Civil Rights movement.

 

In the Sixties, the five-and-dime store on every Main St. morphed into the large discount store you were apt to find in "strip malls" in the burbs, stripped of unique architecture and character, that’s for sure.  In 1962 Woolworth's became Woolco.  That same year a domino effect took hold where S.S. Kresge opened Kmart; Dayton's opened Target; Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart.

 

Back in the Sixties when you could "trust your car to the man with the star--Texaco," and he'd squeegee your window, check yer oil, while fillin' er up  for $.35 or less per gal of regular, my sister and I enjoyed those spur of the moment car jaunts after supper when our dad needed to run out for cigarettes.  His were filter tipped Raleighs with a coupon on the back of each pack you could redeem for household items.  Leaving my mother behind to fend for herself in the kitchen, the three of us would take off in the station wagon.

 

Our dad's cigarette run usually veered toward the humble village of Centredale. My sister and I would bolt from the wagon’s back doors and scoot inside King's Five-and-Dime or Adam's Drugstore, delightfully intoxicated by junk. Tossing pennies from heaven into the gumball machine or twisting our fortune with the ring machine were merely preludes to strolling along the counters in each aisle. My most outrageous acquisition during one such jaunt was a pair of silver studded orange cat eye sunglasses. I'm sure I thought I was the cat's meow.

 

Today a nickel or dime can't even get you a song play on a jukebox. Used to be a nickel or a dime could buy you a postage stamp, soft drink, coffee, popcorn, newspaper, or amusement park ticket. However, free speech will afford you the opportunity to complain that our economy is nickel and dimin’ us to death.

 

 

 

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Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco  An E. Quiche by Eva Pasco

 

 

 Signed copies of the Paperback, 40 % off suggested retail, may be acquired at the Authors Den Signed Bookstore via Eva’s web page: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

 

 

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