Shortly after I graduated from high school, the company my dad worked for moved from North Kansas City to Blue Springs, Missouri . Since I didn't drive, I decided to get an apartment close to the city bus line, so I could keep my job at National Bellas Hess (a low-class mail-order company). I couldn't afford much, since I made minimum wage. My aunt had recently vacated a two-room kitchenette rented from some church folks my parents knew, and I took that. I believe the rent was $45 a month. My paycheck was under $40 a week at the time.
In order to take the bus from my apartment in the "Little Italy" section of Kansas City on East Eleventh Street, and arrive in North Kansas City, I had to transfer busses; I'd get off one bus and wait for 10 or 15 minutes for the next bus to come along.
At night, if I had any energy left, I'd sometimes window-shop downtown when I got off my first bus, catching a later bus home. There was the Jones Store, Kresge's, Emery, Bird, and Thayer, Woolworth... Downtown was a glorious wonderland, especially during the Christmas season. Windows were adorned with animated Christmas figures, music filled the air. It was a real, live illustration of the song, "Silver Bells".
I seldom had any extra money, but one of the places I loved to browse was Wolferman's. They had pricey gourmet food items I'd never heard of, and I'd spend a half-hour sometimes, just reading lables. Sometimes I'd treat myself to a tiny jar of some exotic flavor of jam or preserves, and feel quite pampered.
I miss Kansas City's old downtown; malls don't capture the flavor of Christmas in the same way; or maybe it's just that times have changed. Or people.