When I was a kid I had a recurring fantasy of wanting to live in the department store Montgomery Ward. I thought it would be ideal. Hanging out in the furniture department watching the big color TV’s would be great. There would be all different living rooms and comfy couches and chairs from which to choose.
I liked the kitchens with the refrigerators with double panel doors, lots of cabinet space and counter tops. The possibilities for life in Montgomery Ward seemed endless.
There were lots of beautiful beds to sleep on too. In the morning I would just get up, go to the girls’ clothing department and choose whatever I wanted to wear to school. Shoes, purses, coats, jewelry, it was all there.
There would be lots of room to run around and many departments to hang out in. I even liked the bathroom displays. They had beautiful mirrors and pretty soap dishes with little soaps sitting in them.
I thought living next to the mall would be really cool. I could just go right out “my” door into the mall and order an Orange Julius whenever I wanted or get a box of Russell Stover chocolates.
I laugh whistfully now at that little girl whose big dreams were living in a Montgomery Ward. That dream was such an indication of who I was and from where I came.
I grew up in a lower middle class family. We shopped at Montgomery Ward. It was what I knew. My fantasy couldn’t have been living in a Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s. I didn’t have that frame of reference. The west Texas town in which I grew up didn’t even have a Macy’s or a Bloomingdale’s. You had to go seven hours to Dallas for that. The most expensive shopping in our town was Neiman Marcus and we didn’t go in that store.
I remember when I was entering 5th grade my mother bought me three shirt dresses off the rack at Mongomery Ward for $9.99. I wore them with white tights or knee high socks. I still remember the sturdy brown shoes with a bit of a chunky heel and a thick strap and big buckle that I selected to wear with the straight dresses.
I found value at Mongomery Ward, both in the many real life shopping trips I went on there with my mom, dad, and siblings, and in the hours of fantasy that it provided a young kid who thought she was dreaming big.
I wouldn’t trade those times for any amount of shopping at Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s.