A trip, a journey, an adventure. Memories

... I recently read an article in Yankee Magazine, about a woman ...

by Betty Rossi

I recently read an article in Yankee Magazine, about a woman's memories of Jordan Marsh. She ended up as a model for girl's clothing and came from Rhode Island. One of her best memories was connected to Blueberry Muffins. Not me. They are nothing like my memories, but she did jolt me into remembering my own thoughts, memories and feelings. Maybe my memories will jolt some wonderful memories for you, also.

It had to be summertime. Dollar Day at Jordan Marsh in Boston. I say summertime, because my mother and I would spend the whole day in "Town". We would walk down Crescent Avenue to Washington Street to catch the Blue and White bus to Malden Square. If we were lucky, we'd catch the bus in the "Square", to ride to Everett Station without much of a wait. In those days, there was no Oak Grove or Malden Station. You had to go to Everett to catch the elevated train into Boston. I can remember looking out of the train window and seeing the big piles of chemicals at Monsantos. On certain days, I'm sure that you can still smell the sulfur. I remembered that smell for years. I digress. My brothers would be home with my Dad, (who must have been on vacation) and they would putter around the house, fixing things and doing yard work, so I had my mother all to myself.

We'd finally get to Boston. So many stores, so little time. We would go to R.H. White's, Gilchrist's, Raymond's, Filene's and Jordan's basement. Such shopping. I must have been pretty young, because I can remember that by the time we got to Jordan's basement, I was bored and cranky. I can remember plowing through and under the racks of clothing just to make my mother hurry with her shopping.

Lunchtime at last! I can remember eating at W.T. Grant's, downstairs in the cafeteria. Liverwurst and mayonnaise on white bread, sliced diagonally, with a big glass of milk, my lunch choice most of the times that we went to "Dollar Days". Every now and then, we'd eat at Liggett's. A Grilled Cheese Sandwich fit for a queen and a Root Beer Float or a Coffee Ice Cream Soda. What a treat! For a quarter, that Ice Cream Soda would hold almost a pint of ice cream in a tall glass with a long, silver spoon. Ah, the memory! Sometime my "Auntie", Adeline Santosousso, my mother's aunt and my great aunt, would hop on her train from Roslindale and meet us in front of Filene's. The shopping and the chatter then became incredible! She would buy colorful jellied candy for me to bring home and when she would meet us, we'd go to Bailey's on Tremont Street, sit on high stools and eat Vanilla Ice Cream. Those were the days!

After we'd finish lunch, we'd shop until we dropped. Clothes, notions,trinkets. You name it, if we could carry more bags, we'd buy it! We used to fill shopping bags at Jordan's and they'd put little wooden handles on the bags, so that we could carry them, and home we'd go.

Wintertime, we'd all go to Jordan's as a family, to see Santa and his village. Jordan Marsh would transform the top floor of their store into an animated wonderland, with lifelike, child-sized mannequins of elves and candy lands. You'd stand in long, long, long lines to tell Santa Claus what you wanted for Christmas, with threats from my father of coal in our stockings if we didn't stop fidgeting. After our visit with Santa, we'd go outside and look at all of the store windows in Jordan's and Filene's. What a thrill to see the animated windows, a tradition that we kept for years. Before we'd leave for home, we'd walk up to Boston Common and see the lights on the trees and the real live reindeer and baby lambs. When we went to town with my Dad, we took the Boston and Maine train from North Station and walked over the Crescent Avenue hill to home.

I'm so glad that I read Ann Horst's memories of Jordan Marsh and their Blueberry Muffins, because I am still remembering wonderful Jordan Marsh memories of my own.

December 6, 2013

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