Saturday, December 18, 2021

Sentimental Saturday: On The Road

Hello and goodbye from Des Moines, where everything on the New West Side is shiny and bright.

Every office park, retail center and neighborhood is alit with a bright swath of LED lights.

christmas lights west des moines

Which is beautiful but makes me nostalgic for what seemed a much simpler Christmas time of my youth. These watercolors of old Grand Rapids downtown encompass most of my Christmas shopping haunts of old - before the suburban malls displaced downtowns (only to shut down themselves several decades hence) and Macy’s bought the few surviving regional department stores. Bigger but definitely not better by most measures.

Herpolshiemer’s, Wurzberg’s and Steketees’s were all locally owned department stores offering everything from fine clothing to fine china. Along with that there was always a candy counter and a small restaurant or “tea room” serving up the obligatory chicken pot pies.

hepolsheimers paintingHerpolsheimer’s


wurzburg's arlene faye helder grand rapidsWurzberg’s

Woolworth’s and Kresge’s were national Five and Dimes:



And Sears was the original and possibly last of the stores to offer literally soup to nuts.


Off course all these businesses are now long defunct. Sears was the last hold out but it’s death throes were too painful to even think about.

So let your Caturday Before Christmas begin. We are heading out for Cheyenne this morning so have fun with your own hometown Christmas Memories today.

**All images found on Pinterest. They are watercolor paintings of old downtown Grand Rapids by Arlene Faye Helder.  She once sold prints of her notecards on Etsy but it appears she’s no longer doing so.