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The Plaza & Forest Ave. C Connelly mcgil mmmg@netscape.net Growing up in the 60's it seem that my girlfriends and I spent at least part of everyday, especially during the summer, shopping at the Plaza and other stores on Forest Ave. Starting when we were nine or ten years old, the walk to the Plaza seemed to be part of our daily routine. We would go to Kresge's and sometimes have our lunch of french fries and rootbeer floats. Or, sometimes, they would be having a balloon sale on banana splits (break a balloon & pay between one cent and ?.) Then we would move on to Save-On, Jordan Cards, Penney's and The Place. On to Richmond Dry Goods where the salespeople made it a habit to follow every pre-teen or teen that came into their store without a parent. We made a game of it, we would stay together and walk through the store, our shadow hovering behind us, however as soon as we saw that other salespeople were busy, we would immediately split up just to frustrate the poor woman. It would be fun to watch her try to keep an eye on all of us at the same time and make sure that we didn't steal anything!

We'd then cross the street & go on to Neisners (sp?.) Neisners was the best 5&10. They had great doll clothes and toys, all kinds of fish and birds,and all kinds of small junk. The perfect place for kids.
Then Sears. Who remembers the big Hires Root Beer Keg over the hot dog stand? You'd walk in the store and all you could smell were the hot dogs. And even if you weren't thirsty, you had to have a root beer. I've always been sad that when they moved the store to the mall they didn't take the rootbeer keg with them. When we finished at Sears, it we hadn't eaten in either Kresge's or Sears, we'd head across the street to Master's and get a slice and then head home.

Although, it wasn't part of our jaunts to the Plaza, I also have fond memories of Food Fair. Now my Mom used to do her shopping during the day -- sans kids. So I would always try to go with my grandparents when they shopped on Thursday nights. When it came to junk food, my grandfather was a kid at heart, so we would both be sticking all the good stuff in the basket (and of course their door was always open to me so I could get my junk whenever I wanted.) But my favorite part of food fair was the wall. Food Fair, as well as Neisners & Sears were higher in the front then in the back. Neisners & Sears had stairs leading to the back parking lot, but FF sloped down to the parking lot. Therefore, the bottom of the window wall that bordered the driveway went from about 2ft high by the front door and at least 5ft high near the back. The bottom of the wall was made of tile and there was a tile shelf that was maybe six inches wide on top. My goal in life was be able to slide across that wall and made it to the five ft level. I can still remember trying to get across that shelf, you had to work around the window braces and try not to slide off the slippery tile. I don't think I ever made it all the way, but I do remember getting pretty far once before being plucked off by my grandfather and getting yelled at (what are you trying to do, kill yourself?)

Oh well, just thought I share some memories. Thanks for listening.
mimi



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