Decades of kids grocery stores

Though almost summer, I miss indoor kindergarten recess traveling with my cart to their grocery store. I didn’t need money since there was a slot for my credit card not like my childhood store. How I miss chasing the boys who would grab the grocery cart for fun and run out of bounds while the girls complained. Their store was the Fresh Mart. My store was called the Corner Store Play shop purchased in 1961 with a wall phone just with painted numbers. You could not dial but had a receiver to pick up and take orders. The cash register wasn’t real either. Watching old movies my father took, I had several items on the shelf; one which was an old fashioned box of Kleenex that was blue and white. I think food items came with store.

In the 1960’s, the Corner Store was made of corrugated cardboard and I got one for Christmas though there is not a lot of history about who created the store. Peoplehistory was the first place where I was able to find some information about the store. Somebody said that the store had been a brief company promotion. The website features information related to historical events, popular culture, music, fashion, toys, sports, and much more from the 1800s up to the present! They are a free educational resource created as a personal interest project and have been online for over 10 years. Probably the best I have found when looking for lost toys.

In the 1990’s, my children shopped at a Little Tike’s grocery store though they did not have a shopping cart to chase each other around the house. Today, Little Tikes actually has a car attached to the shopping cart. My children had a similar yellow and orange car that they rode….only outside.

Today, it was Fresh Mart by Melissa and Doug that I would travel in kindergarten. From a beeping “scanner” to a card swipe machine and cash drawer, it has everything kids need and you can personalize it too. It is a 70-piece play set of grocery store accessories, including apron, conveyor belt divider bar, shopping bag, play money, cards, coupons, grab-and-go rack with gum, lip balm, granola bar, gift cards, signs, 5 grocery boxes and 2 cans with lids. Personal Creations offers to personalize the apron up to 12 characters with a discount on the store which runs over 200 dollars.

I always loved my Corner Store and for awhile, my daughter wanted the same. Though, not sure what happened to it since many of my toys were saved. However, I think for the first time, my childhood grocery experience can’t compare to Fresh Mart.

Ageless antiques

By Caryl Clem

My favorite house guest has character, dependability and makes every inch of space occupied functional. If this doesn’t sound like any person you know, it’s because my guest is an 1870’s oak Eastlake side table serving as my T.V. stand.  Every room has an honored guest that fits in with contemporary décor. When I first met these characters, the original finish was degraded or entirely gone, or the structure needed re-gluing; their rescue was decided by the design and wood quality.  The most important factor in saving an antique or aging furniture piece is the quality of durable wood found in walnut, mahogany, oak, cherry, maple and teak.

Trends keep older furniture in the limelight.  Retro is still “hot”, and has been going strong for several years.  Young shoppers seek the clean lines of 1970’s mid- Modern Danish teak style. The 1950’s chrome kitchen sets, Acme Chrome was a main distributor; production of those products is still done by the subsidiary company, ACCRO Furniture Industries. Restoring a kitchen table relic in your family can be done if the rust residue is minimal. Removing the old finish completely and then using the correct paint can bring back an original appearance.

The rebirth of the buffet or sideboard has been emerging for the past 3 years. Originally designed for the dining room to store fine linens, serving pieces and silverware, currently used as  T.V. stands in the bedroom, or a plant table under a large window with storage to hide miscellaneous, or in the back of a large walk in closet.  Buffets come in a huge assortment of sizes and style and before 1960 the majority will have dove tailed drawers with solid wood construction. Stripping any finish made after 1940 involves breaking down the plastic added to the stains. Plastic in a stain seals with fewer coats, adds shine but scratches easily.  Restoring a rubbed oil finish adds the most value, while painting is a popular option demanding less time and preparation. Auctions for furniture online exist.  Sites to explore the possibilities are at Etsy also.

Primitive furniture is irreplaceable, made by a craftsman not a company, truly one of kind, unique. The lumber found in the area was shaped into furniture for family use. Cherry, Oak and Maple were dominant over pine and softer woods.  Farm animal troughs, cupboards, harvest tables and dressers made after Illinois farmland was claimed after the Indian Removal Act can still be found. Often a primitive piece will have several coats of paint.  Another sign of age are rounded wood peg nails.

Chicago’s furniture production was second in the nation by 1920, New York was number one.  Chicago’s Wards and Sears catalogs sold any piece of furniture desired. For example, industrialization in the early 1900’s led to 26 furniture companies in Rockford, Illinois.

Saving any piece from the past is a worthwhile venture. Furniture made today is rarely solid wood. Plastic, wood ground up with fillers bonded by glue and covered with a laminate surface floods the current market. The heavier a piece that looks like wood is, the more likely it is a wood compound. Anyone who has carried a can of paint knows how much a blend of chemicals can weigh.  Authentic wood needs moisture, oil and smart cleaning, no water. Expensive wood construction is done with no screws or nails.   Whatever that antique piece is chances are it can be revived and become a valued member of your household guests.

Fannie May for Memorial Day

Fannie May is running 20% off entire purchases from May 22nd through May 25th. Guests can call ahead for easy curbside pick-up or next day delivery offered at specific locations. To note, this offer is not available on UberEats.

The first Fannie May retail store was opened by H. Teller Archibald in 1920 at 11 N. LaSalle St. in Chicago and has been a family favorite for decades. During any holiday or birthday celebration, Fannie May provides the best in confections continuing to follow original recipes.

Fannie May Premium Bags were introduced in 2019. Available in three flavors, each individually wrapped in a resealable bag. There premium bags are exclusively available at Jewel-Osco, Mariano’s, Meijer and select Walmart stores.

Please note: for the safety of everyone, customers will not be allowed in store. More details on specific locations and limited store hours can be found at FannieMay.com/locations.

Dark Shadows

It was junior high and we would race home to watch; beginning at 3 Central time in Chicago. Like millions of others throughout the Chicago area. Sometimes, I would race to a friend’s house and we would begin our favorite, American Gothic, horror soap opera, Dark Shadows. It was presented on ABC or Channel 7 for Chicago kids in junior high and high school. Beginning in 1966 to 1971, the wealthy Collingsport family lived in Maine and was plagued by supernatural occurrences. The show really became popular when Barnabas Collins, (Johnathan Frid),a vampire, joined the cast. I wanted to grow up and be the beautiful witch, Angelique, played by Lara Parker and, of course, no one could live without Quentin Collins (David Selby).

Growing up during my years, everyone loved Quentin and today Etsy provides memorabilia from Dark Shadows that specifically compliments David Selby. He was very alluring to most young women growing up during my time. There were postcards, book marks and posters of Quentin to purchase that every girl wanted. In 1968, Selby joined the cast of the TV series Dark Shadows as werewolf Quentin Collins. After the series’ cancellation in 1971, Selby played a different, non-werewolf, version of “Quentin Collins” in the second feature film based on the show, Night of Dark Shadows, released later the same year.

Currently, David Selby has an active website and is an author. Besides being an actor, David Selby’s first book, In and Out of the Shadows, is a career retrospective featuring photographs from throughout his career as well as a few poems, one about Dark Shadows. Its release coincided with the 1999 Dark Shadows Festival in New York. He is written seven additional books. Not only does he have a Facebook page for David Selby but a Facebook page entitled Quentin Collins.

According to Wikipedia, the original network run of the show lasted for nearly five years to amass 1,225 episodes. In 2004 and 2007, it was ranked #19 and #23 on TV Guides Top Cult Shows Ever. Since 2006, the series has continued as a range of audio dramas produced by Big Finish Productions, featuring many of the original cast, including David SelbyLara Parker, and Kathryn Leigh Scott.

 

 

DAD’S Root Beer

My Dad actually made me a root beer float when I was sick and though I was very young, he taught me to add the soda first to a float glass and then the vanilla ice cream. Otherwise, the float will foam more possibly ending up on the counter more than in the glass. Then he would add some whipped cream and of course, a maraschino cherry.  I never was a root beer lover but’s DAD’S Root Beer was the drink he used. My own Dad always believed in using the product that was made in Chicago since he was a local business man in Chicago as well. DAD’S Root Beer was developed in the basement of a Chicago home.

Created in Chicago in 1937 by Ely Klapman and Barney Berns, it was quite a favorite with locals throughout the early 1940’s. Dad’s was the first to format the six pack and the half gallon bottle.Within another ten years, Klapman and Berns would have 165 franchise bottlers distributing the yellow and blue brand across the continent. Made in Chicago Museum offers some interesting history of the plant that began off the Kennedy expressway between Avondale and Logan Square. It used to be the Borden’s plant in the 1920’s. The plant was finally gutted in the 2000’s and renovated into 55 condominium units

The Klapman and Berns families sold all rights to the Dad’s name and logo to IC Industries in the 1970s. Monarch bought Dad’s in 1986. In 2007, the DAD’S Root Beer Company, LLC of Jasper, Indiana, was formed by Keith Hedinger when Hedinger Brands, LLC acquired the Dad’s Root Beer brand and other soda brands from The Monarch Beverage Co. of Atlanta which include  Bubble Up, Dr. Wells, and Sun Crest.

Bubble Up, Dr. Wells, and Sun Crest were drinks that I was not accustomed back in the 1960’s since Dad also did business with Canfields soda where he would get free can’s of 50/50. Canfield’s plant was located across the street from his glass sales shop. I have never been a soda pop lover but an old-fashioned DAD’s, still made with l wintergreen, licorice, and vanilla, along with ice cream is the best. A memory of my own Dad never forgotten.

Decades of kitchen fun

During kindergarten recess, I would anxiously visit their kitchen, have a seat while waiting for the best in plastic cuisine presented to me. There were several cooks involved in the process; a far more elaborate setting than my early 1960’s, childhood kitchen. They would fight when offering me the best to eat from their own personal menus. It was a constant argument between pizza, chocolate chip cookies, donuts with sprinkles or just candy. Sometimes I would get juice…half filled. Now, without being in school with friends, they are probably learning the real art of cooking in the family kitchen with Mom. I loved my childhood kitchen and after watching a home movie, I realized that I, too, wanted to be in charge, just like my kindergarten friends.

Made in the early 1960’s, mine was not metal like some, but the made from Sears brand that many had in white or pink corrugated cardboard with red, plastic handles that was easy to move. The set included a stove, with glow burners, oven, cupboard, sink with running water and refrigerator. I don’t remember the cups, saucers and other utensils except for a metal coffee pot and a aluminum baking pan for cupcakes. Vintage play food was not as extravagant as it is now. Pizza and chocolate chip cookies were not a big item on the list. My collection included lots of fruits and I did have a turkey for Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, in the early 1990’s, my daughter did not have a kitchen but her best friend who lived right next door did. They had a special bowl and ingredients to make alphabet soup. She also had a Fischer Price Sizzle and Glow that the girls would try to relocate outside during nice weather but this was electronic. She had a muffin container too. However, they came with the finished product;  great looking frosted cupcakes with maraschino cherries.

Today, play kitchens are not that different with the exception of having a microwave oven, refrigerator ice dispenser and no corrugated cardboard designs. Many are being crafted from high quality wood. Mine went for about 15 dollars. Today, 200 is the average price to fulfill your child or grandchild’s dream of having the best kitchen in the community. During another article soon, we will talk about the best of childhood grocery stores…found right in your home! Pickup and delivery was available even back in the day.

 

The magic of the Colleen Moore Fairy Castle

One kindergarten student went to the Museum of Science and Industry, loving the baby chicks as her favorite exhibit. I did too and so did my own children. But when I begin another trip in the room with the Colleen Moore Fairy Castle,I am constantly in awe. I am quiet and so overwhelmed by the intricate detail of the amazing workmanship, artistry and beauty every time I visit. Maybe I have missed something again. I always do. But one year, I finally bought a book before the Internet was a resource.

The creation is the ultimate dollhouse/castle donated by Colleen Moore to the museum in 1949. She was a  Hollywood icon and one of the highest paid actresses. She conceived and designed it with about one hundred Hollywood craftsman and designers between the years of 1928 to 1935. She spent about a half a million on the castle. It has toured the US raising over a half a million dollars to give to children’s charities. Currently, the castle has 11 rooms and wonderful stories to go with each room.

The following describes each room and the finishing touches that were fascinating to me and my children:

Kitchen: It was not just the Mother Goose fairy tale murals on the walls. The best thing I liked is the kitchen of the witch from Hansel and Gretel.

Dining Room: The tapestries on the walls are so intricate that you cannot see the stitches at and the silver ware and plates on King Arthurs table are made of gold. So many pieces are over 100 years old.

Cinderella’s Drawing Room: The floor is made from China combined with quartz and jade. There is a beautiful of mural of Cinderella. A grand piano with an illustration inside the top is an instrument I always wanted to play on. I took piano lessons for many years and taught lessons.

Great Hall: On walls, windows and the ceilings there are amazing drawings of several fairy tales. There is a rosewood table that has Cinderella’s slippers on it and the chairs of the Three Bears. Of course, the balusters throughout and the stairs are gold.

Chapel; On the prayer bench is a small bible. The smallest in the world and printed on real type. I always stared at the electric pipe organ with gold pipes and music pours from it. The stained glass windows are actually made with diamonds and emeralds taken from Moore’s brooch.

Library: Is a sea motif in beautiful blue shades. There are pictures describing the classic literature of Gullivers Travels and Robinsoo Caruso. There are over 100 real books in the library many of them handwritten by famous authors.

Princess Bathroom and Bedroom: The bath tub is silver and real water can flow from the dolphins mouths on both sides of the tub. The bed is the same that Sleeping Beauty, my favorite Disney character, slept in. There is also a golden harp instrument that I always wanted to play

Prince’s Bathroom and Bedroom: The bathroom is upstairs with a mirror filled jewels. The bedroom has a huge white bear rug with real mouse teeth that I was always a little afraid.

Attic: This is just like most attics. Things that used to be in other parts of the castle are stored in the attic.

Magic Garden: Another favorite of mine. I loved the cradle that rocked the baby and you could actually see Santa Claus all year round.

The origin of Candy Land

Candy Land has been another favorite game that I like to play. Especially with the kindergarten class during indoor recess. During the polio epidemic which many Baby Boomers experienced, hundreds of children were in hospitals and thousands quarantined at home in 1948. Strange times… like today. It was then that a young San Diego schoolteacher named Eleanor Abbott invented Candy Land. Abbott created the game inside a polio ward, as a patient herself; trying to inspire the sick children; taking them on a magical trip through Peppermint Stick Forest or Gumdrop Mountain. She wanted them to experience travels, far from this devastating illness. The game was made for them and tested by the children in the same polio wards in the hospital. They loved it and she pursued Milton Bradley. The boy at the start of the original game had a brace on his leg. The Atlantic offers a picture of the first Candy Land board courtesy of the Strong Museum.

Players had tokens which raced down a track of many rainbow-like colors. Drawing from a deck of cards, they would stop according to the card description or number of spaces suggested. Whoever finished, was the winner. According to some sources, Milton Bradley published the game as a filler to school supplies in 1949 but it then, of course, became their most popular game. Hasbro purchased the game in 1984 and at least 4 versions of the game have been made as well as many limited editions. As of 2013, Candy Land is being sold by Hasbro with a spinner instead of cards. The spinner includes all outcomes that were previously on the cards.

Last year, Candy Land celebrated 70 years of existence. Very little strategy is involved and that is why it sells millions of copies. It is simple; a game producing the feeling of magic and escape when you begin to play. It is easy to get lost in. Above, the board copyrighted in 1962 was different than more recent versions. But, this was my version as well as my own children since I saved that game for them. Even now as the pandemic continues and days are gloomy not being able to play with friends, we are still able to take trips with family through Lolly Pop Woods, Ice Cream Floats, always returning…on my game anyway….to the beauty of home, sweet, home. Regardless of what version you play, Candy Land will continue to take us down a colorful road of sweet surprises beyond the pain real life sometimes expresses.