Friday, December 9, 2005

Wolferman's

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.

9 comments:

sanforized6 said...

Not too many "Wolferman's" left in this crazy world we live in now. I miss that simple life, BUT, it's history, so I guess we are supposed to go along with it. BAH HUMBUG!!

Christmas was always "commercialized" but there was still an air of good will and true Christmas "spirit", now it's just GIVE ME YOUR MONEY!! And, now we can't even say Merry Christmas without risking being politically incorrect!! I repeat: BAH HUMBUG!!

Other than that, thanx for sharing that "christmasy" story. rich

lonamay said...

boy this one takes me back donna,, as you know don went to high school in kansas city and we went there on our honeymoon,, one of the places we had to go to was wolfermans... i loved the store,, loved their food.. and have bought many a wolferman english muffin,, none like them as far as I am concerned.. and funny thing was i got a catalogue from them about two weeks ago.. thanks for the kansas city memory....

ksquester said...

I really miss the old Wolfermans.  They used to have a cheddar muffin I adorned. I remember the old downtown in the city I grew up in also. We did not have a car when I grew up and I was an expert at riding the city busses....transfers and all. In fact some of my dreams are about being downtown at night and looking for the last bus to go home.   Remember the silver artificial trees? I thought they were so cool and was mesmerized by them. Our across the street neighbors had one and I watched it for hours. Doesn't take much to amuse me Mo.  

salemslot9 said...

mmmmmm...english muffin :)

lv2trnscrb said...

I agree; there is a certain charm to a downtown decorated at Christmas. I remember years ago a family tradition to go and see the Christmas lights downtown the day after Thanksgiving which is the first day they light them (unlike our city who lit them two weeks before Thanksgiving).

congrats on being picked a guest editor's choice this week :)

betty

zosche973 said...

Oh, don't you just love to walk around the city during the Christmas season? And it's good to treat yourself Mosie, why not do that now? Treat yourself to a jar of those preserves now! And even tho they aren't cheap, it won't put such a 'dent' in your pocketbook, like years ago; I haven't done 'night time holiday' shopping in a long time, and I DO have to go to Macy's, maybe I'll go tonight? lol Have a nice evening. ~Diane~

queenb8261 said...

We lived in a small town in Southern KS.  Starting in November, the Holiday season kickoff, merchants had live Turkeys in a pen in front of their store.  On Thursday evenings they kept their stores open till 9pm. To win a fresh turkey, you were invited to come in to the stores to register for the Turkey giveaways.  There was a Santa's House in front of Duckwall's and kids could visit afterschool and on Satudays. There was even a Christmas parade. The town smelled of evergreens, snow and fireplace fires.  Hmmm the good ole days.  LOL
Barb

bnanajm said...

Mosie, I too remember the wonderful Christmas windows we had on "Mitchell Street" in Milwaukee where I grew up.  I'd take the bus to shop at Schuster's and smell the carmel corn being cooked in the big copper kettle.  I'd stand on the corner waiting for my bus to come carry me home and watch the lights and animated figures and feel that Christmas spirit overtake me and instantly put a smile on my face.  I could shop for hours, never buying anything, but dreaming a lot.

WOW, you've just brought back a lot of sweet memories for me.

Bnana

mutualaide said...

One of my favorite Christmas activities was taking the bus from downtown and going to the next town over for shopping.  When we finished there we'd hop back on the bus and head home where we would stop at Woolworth's and have a vanilla coke and a hotdog.  Mom's not having a license was good for us in a way.  We all learned to ride the public transportation at an early age.