Friday 19 December 2008
Over the rainbow
On one of my countless visits into town this week, I found a roll of various old Christmas wrapping papers. I bought them to use for present wrapping but then found I couldn't part with them. Not because they are necessarily a thing of beauty, there are far far nicer ones around, but because when I got them home and unrolled them I was immediately transported back to the sweet shop around the corner from where we lived when I was little. In the corner of the shop, hanging in sheets were similar brightly coloured papers with almost identical images and messages.
I can't remember my mum having to go into town as much as I do now, the sweet shop was one in a row of shops that seemed to sell almost anything you might need - a grocer's, a greengrocer's, a hardware shop (which I remember being a real Aladdin's cave, just like the good ones you find in France), a haberdashery shop with old wooden fittings that sold wool, cotton, gloves, handkerchiefs, my first bra (lilac gingham I think!), a fishmongers, butchers, chemist and the beloved sweet shop.
I used to take our dog for a walk around the block, tie his lead up outside the sweet shop and buy myself a bar of chocolate or a paper bag of sweets from the endless jars or a black jacks or fruit salads from the pick'n'mix counter. In one corner of the shop was a little post office counter and you would see at least three or four people you knew in the queue each time you visited the shop. At Christmas time the top shelves in the shop were full of advent calendars, there was the brightest, gaudiest mass of tinsel to choose from in one corner and the shop window was virtually covered in fake snow and amidst all the boxes of chocolates with their festive wrappers was my mother's favourite Terry's chocolate covered burnt almonds, we would make sure she would have at least one box of them every Christmas.
Those few shops were like a little world to me, especially at Christmas time. I would love waiting for the Christmas stock to arrive, the decorations going up and going with my dad to buy my mother's chocolates. I wonder what kind of shopping memories my daughters will have now that everything is done on such a huge scale. Anyway the wrapping paper is staying put, it has brought back to me so many memories that I can't bear to part with it.
Another trip down memory lane for me this afternoon - Little Sister and I went to see the stage show of The Wizard of Oz, I'm afraid I did shed a tear at Somewhere over the Rainbow, so many memories ... The real highlight for me was being able to see the original ruby slippers from the film that were on display in the foyer. To think Judy Garland wore these very glittery wonders nearly 70 years ago ... I bet, just like my wrapping paper, they have a few stories to tell.
Hope you all have a great weekend of festive flurries, enjoy the winter solstice( hooray the days will start to get longer) and emerge from your tangle of pressies and wrapping paper, have fun.