Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Last Minute Christmas Shopping

As I mentioned before, I made it easy for everyone when it came to Christmas shopping. I made up my Christmas list and taped it to my bedroom door. But nobody else in my family made it that easy.

I didn't get an allowance until I was 15. I don't remember ever having the opportunity to earn money doing chores around the house either. So I guess I probably didn't buy Christmas gifts for my family when I was a kid (except one time). I don't remember buying any.

My mom always wracked her brain trying to come up with one special gift for my brothers. When she came up with an idea she'd buy one for each of them. The year when the sale flyers were showing leather jackets for men she bought one for each of them. When she decided they should each have a sports hobby, they both got sets of golf clubs for Christmas. I loved shopping, even back then. So she would always take me with her, for a second opinion, when she went shopping for their gifts.

Here's my brothers trying on their leather jackets.

My dad had an entirely different idea about Christmas gift giving. When we were all done opening our presents, he would open up his wallet and hand each of us a $100 bill.

But what sticks out the most in my mind when I think about Christmas shopping when I was growing up has to do with my oldest brother, Joe. Joe always, and I mean always, waited until Christmas Eve to do all of his Christmas shopping. The problem was my mom never knew what time he was coming home from shopping. And she never knew exactly when the turkey was going to be done. And she would become absolutely frantic that her Christmas Eve dinner would be ruined while we all waited for him to get home. There were no cell phones in those days, no text messaging, no easy way for him to let us know what time he'd be home. My mom would tell him to figure on the turkey being done about six and then, wouldn't you know it, that turkey would be done at five. And then Joe wouldn't get home until 6:30 because he couldn't find what he was looking for and couldn't come home empty handed. His last minute shopping always seemed to create a problem!

Places we used to shop when I was very young: Federals Department Store on Ecorse Rd. in Taylor; Montgomery Wards on Michigan Ave. at Schaeffer Rd. in east Dearborn and sometimes the one in Wonderland Mall at Plymouth Rd. and Middlebelt Rd. in Livonia (Wonderland was an outdoor mall opened in 1959); Crowley's in Westborn Mall (Michigan Ave. at Outer Drive) in Dearborn; J. C. Penney's on Fort Street in Lincoln Park; The S & H Green Stamp redemption center was also located in the same area, Fort Street in Lincoln Park; Hudson's Budget Store (my Aunt Renee worked there) on Michigan Ave. at Greenfield in east Dearborn; Muirheads on Michigan Ave. at Military in Dearborn; Sears Roebuck on Southfield Rd. at Dix Rd. in Lincoln Park; People's Clothing Store (my Dad's favorite store to shop at) on Michigan Ave. at John Daly in Dearborn Heights and on Schaeffer Rd. north of Michigan Ave. in east Dearborn.

Places we used to shop when I was a bit older (1960s-70s): KMart on Van Born Rd. in Taylor, I don't know when this store opened but I'd guess in the 1960s (my first job was working as a cashier here); Westland Mall at Warren Ave. and Wayne Rd. in Westland (opened 1965); Southland Mall on Eureka Rd. in Taylor (opened 1970); Northland Mall on Eight Mile Rd. in Southfield (opened 1954 as an outdoor mall) and eventually Fairlane Town Center on Michigan Ave. at the Southfield Freeway M39 in Dearborn (opened in 1976).