Week 21 – Shops and Shopping

Oh no! The two most dreaded words in my vocabulary. Wikipedia refers to shopping as a venue for retail shopping, online or market. A business that presents a selection of goods and offers to trade or sell them to customers for money or other goods.

Well, there was definitely no online shopping or markets when I grew up on the farm in the 1950s-1960s, there wasn’t even such a thing as a supermarket. I can recall mum ringing through to Bernie Hawes’ grocery store in Northampton, her order for fruit, vegetables and other grocery items. They would pack it up into boxes and Dad would make the trip into town to collect them.

Back to shopping in the 1960s. Mum made most of my clothes, or I had hand-me-downs from the my brothers. Yep, I wore shorts and long pants, just like the boys. The only dresses that I did wear, mum made most of them and they were for church on Sunday’s. You wouldn’t see me dead in a dress, still rarely wear them! Mum would purchase the material either from Williams’ Store on the corner of Hampton and Mary Street in Northampton or from Carter & Co Drapers, a retail shop in Marine Terrace, Geraldton. Carter’s was always fun to go into, they had shelves and shelves of material, sheets, towels, boxes of bras, racks of clothes, men and women’s and so much more. Dicky Brown owned or managed the store, not sure which and dear old Mrs Carter worked there as well. She would always give me an empty box that I would put my dolls to bed in!!

Williams’ Store was similar to Carter’s and had everything that a man or woman would want in the way of clothing and house items. It’s only just recently in 2016, that the store closed its doors. I hope someone takes it on again some day as it was really nice to walk across the creaking floorboards.

I remember my grandmother doing her fruit and vegetable shopping on the corner of Eleanor Street (now Chapman Road) and Snowden Street. The people who owned this store were Italian, a Mr and Mrs Cardaci. (not sure of spelling). They would help you pick out the fruit and vegetables, weigh them in the scales and hand them to you in paper bags. No plastic!

The meat was bought from the butcher on the same street. Jock Sutherland, a big, burly Scotsman with a booming voice. I was always scared of him and never went inside the shop, cowering outside. He really was a nice fellow as I found out when I got older. Guess it was his accent that frightened me and he was a little on the dumpy side.

On the farm, we always killed our own sheep. I don’t recall eating beef and chicken was only ever killed and eaten at Christmas time and it was always a rooster, never one of the chooks as they were the egg producers!

Dad had his own vegetable garden, so we had a good supply of fresh vegetables in the winter and delicious oranges and mandarins. We never had anything that was out of season, it just wasn’t heard of, and we never went hungry.

Shopping today is so different although it’s interesting how we now have online shopping and our stores can get delivered, so not much different to the ‘olden’ days. Not that I’ve taken to ordering my groceries online. I tried it but wanted to pick out the items myself. My weekly shop is at the IGA store in Wonthella, owned by Rigter’s who are community minded business people and well respected in Geraldton. I can be in and out of the shops in less than an hour and that includes driving 10 minutes to get there.

I’ve tried the bigger supermarkets, like Woolworths and Coles, however, they are always in busy shopping centres.

As for clothes, that would have to one of the things I dislike the most. I like classey, conservative clothing that I can wear for years and won’t date. But, that’s not always easy to do in this ever changing world, especially as one gets older and the teenie tiny clothes that the younger generation wear, just isn’t going to cut to the chase on me. Give me a pair of jeans (not skinny jeans or stretchy) and a shirt any day!



About Jenny MacKay

Just a person who is looking forward to retirement and enjoying the golden years!
This entry was posted in 52-Week-Challenge, Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Week 21 – Shops and Shopping

  1. I had forgotten about Carter and Co… and was there a Macy’s ? It’s just popped into the memory, and our own Bennets Elite in town with Marge Nairn as manager then Jean Walton. They were always good for a chat with Mum. I remember the thrill (or not) of mum and I buying my first bra from the Elite- that tiny teenage bra.

    • Jenny MacKay says:

      Yes, yes, yes, Bennett Elite in Northampton with Jean Walton behind the counter. I remember that too. I think, from memory, we bought the material for my first maxi dress from there, then I made it a midi, then that was too long, so made a mini. Oh I’ll have to blog about that era as I have a photo of the maxi skirt. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. tstatton says:

    A great read. Mum and Dad had a grocery and green grocery corner store when I grew up and I was on the other end of your spectrum – helping choose, weigh, pack and driving with Dad to deliver everyone’s order. I kind of miss those shops now – personal, friendly and happy service. Our city lives weren’t all that different to your country lives really.

  3. Ruthie Francis says:

    Hi I enjoyed hearing what things were like in the 50’s and 60’s in Australia. We had a Woolworths here in NYC in the 60’s but they only sold cosmetics and appliances.

  4. C. Francis says:

    Hi I enjoyed hearing what things were like in the 50’s and 60’s in Australia. We had a Woolworths here in NYC in the 60’s but they only sold cosmetics and appliances.

  5. Kerry & Jim says:

    Like you recollections of shopping Jenny. So much has changed hasn’t it.

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