Shopping Downtown


When Mama (Shirley) was a little girl, Mimi and Papa would take her downtown to go shopping. This picture was taken by a street photographer. We are not sure how they received the picture but the usual process was to hand out a card with a photo number on it. You would then either mail some money to the photographer and the picture would be mailed back, or you would go to the studio later in the week to pick out your photos.

I remember going shopping downtown, too. We would shop at Goldsmith's. I can remember that the shoe department was on one floor, and if you went up some steps and to the right, they had a toy department. I also remember that sometimes, as a special treat, we would go to the restaurant on the 5th floor. My favorite there was a canned pear half with a scoop of cottage cheese, topped by a dollop of mayonnaise and a sprinkle of grated cheese.

Sometimes we would go to Court Square and feed the pigeons. On one side of Court Square was Happy Hal's Toy Store. In the window were giant stuffed animals - a giraffe, an elephant, a horse, that looked almost real. I always wanted one, but they were too expensive. Several years ago, someone donated a stuffed toy cheetah to the Wildlife Museum for a rummage sale. It reminded me of Happy Hal's animals, so I bought it, and it is in my classroom now.

Where was this?: 
Downtown Memphis
When was this?: 
sometime in the late 1930s

Who is in this story?:


When Mama was young, the bus stopped in front of her house. She would ride the bus downtown and walk a block up to Main Street where all the stores were. When she was in her early teens, she and her friend Anita would ride the bus downtown to shop. Kids could ride free up through 5 years old. Mama had a birthday and turned 6. When the bus driver asked how old Mama was, Mimi said, "She's 5." Mama spoke out and said, "No, I'm not - I'm 6!" Mimi had to pay the fare.