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.


Selfsewn said...

Aah so nostalgic!
I love that I grew up in a time before mobile phones and the highlight of the weekend was a jumble sale!
Clare x

Poppy said...

At one time I would have said you are showing your age, but I can remember all those happy memories myself. I remember my Nan putting her wool buy in the local shop on the corner, and picking some up each week. What lovely memories you have brought back for me and the wrapping paper brought the biggest smile of all.
Love Lou xxxx

Jo said...

you brought back lovely memories in time for christmas, thank you
Josie x

Teena Vallerine said...

The parade of shops, Sainsbury's and the Co-op. That was kind of it for me too! I remember my first bra - covered in shocking pink roses which were clearly visible through my school shirt - extreeeeemely embarrassing! I had one in blue too! Arrrgghh! And now all I own are either black or flesh coloured. I was damaged for life! Lingerie stores hold no thrills for me. The plainer the better! So. Now I've lowered the tone to a suitably festive 'Carry On' level, I'm off! t.x

Shabby Chick said...

I can remember being given gifts in similar papers when I was young. I love your perky little snowman, he's a sweetie isn't he?

Thanks for sharing your memories with us. I used to go to the local shop with my Dad almost every day and it had a glass counter with those old fashioned lollies on top and sold all kinds of odd things too. Of course now it's a Co-op but back then it felt like quite an expedition!

Mel x

Sharon J said...

Yes, I remember those sheets of paper too. It's so sad that all those little shops have disappeared now but at least we have good memories :)

Anonymous said...

The corner shops they were called where my Gran lived. They slowly disappeared or turned into cheapy places. What lovely memories you have brought back. Sufficiently large world it was!

How nice that you were able to see those shoes!

Merry Christmas!


Greentwinsmummy said...

Wow those shoes are narrow! I adore that film,the flying monkey things still frighten me witless lol!!!
I remember that type of wrapping paper,it was all in sheets folded,not rolls covered in cellophane grrrr more for landfill sigh.I can even remember how that paper felt...quite fragile & flimsy but curiously strong because you could squeeze and feel the pressys lol!

We are very lucky here that the little villages nearby(nothing in our village anymore) have still small independant shops,one in particular is marvelous you can get anything you need there to be honest.Sherborne is our nearest town & thats picturesque but is in danger of beoming souless.

I cant remember my first bra!
GTM x x x x

Willow said...

What a lovely, nostalgic post - thank you! It's brought back memories for me of growing up in the Village shop, where my Mum ran the little post office & stores - I remember the wrapping paper too and the beautiful boxes of chocolates, ordered especially for Christmas, with lovely pictures on them, wrapped in ribbon!
Willow x

A time to dance said...

Thank you so have brought back memories for me too ....of all the village shops, especially one that sold hankies and pants and the like.... run by two old sisters, one very large one slender...they had a huge old till which was elaborately clad in ornate silver moulding...I remember walking my dog down to the butchers and he would give me a bone for the dog...seets in large glass jars...and bags which seemed to go on forever...fyrs chocolate cream as a treat on a friday night ....happy days...what will sweet P remember?... the vintage shops /fairs, wool shops and Cath K's that I dragged her round!! have a lovely weekend...H

Lisa said...

It's amazing what things can trigger memories and what wonderfully happy ones you have.
I love the photo of those ruby slippers.
Lisa x

French Knots said...

I had a Saturday job in an old fashioned newsagents, jars of sweets to weigh out, the same regulars cominh in each week to pay the papers and all sorts of treats at Christmas. Thanks for sparking off such nostalgic memories!

Unknown said...

I remember paper like that too, so lovely, much nicer than all this shiney hologram stuff.
Lovely post brought back lots of nice memories.
Rosie x

A Bun Can Dance said...

This is a delightful post. I too recognise that wrapping paper from our childhood. My memory of that paper is linked with my Primary School. Families used to buy sheets of this paper from the school as a fundraiser at Christmas time, and they were all rolled up. We'd take them home at the end of the school day. I remember the texture and smell of that paper! I'm so glad you are keeping it, I'd do exactly the same! Well, as for those ruby slippers - delightful! Have a lovely weekend! D

Redwoodhouse said...

Ohh that was a lovely trip back to childhood, all sounding so familiar, the paper, the corner shop that sold everything and shopping locally for most things from little independant shops with great characters behind the counter.....ahhh lovely

Sal said...

I would not have been able to part with such lovely papers either. Maybe you can create something lovely with them?! ;-)

Carol said...

Hi Kim, you have transported me back the corner shop. I remember the thin but brightly coloured papers which were displayed on stands.
Ah and handkerchiefs, I have to have a real cotton one! hate those soggy tissues. My daughter asked me to buy her husband cottons ones - which made me laugh, I thought only oldies would be seen with a real one!
He too has moaned about the tissues which end up in wet streads in his pocket.
You cannot beat all the old things!
Lovely looking back with you.
Have a lovely weekend Kim.
Carol xxx

Anonymous said...

Oh what a treasure trove of delights could be found in those little shops ~ I remember them well.

I can't even find anywhere that sells Advent calendars these days ~ I don't know what is happening, but it is sad that these traditions are disappearing.

Merry Christmas Kim

Marie x

A Thrifty Mrs said...

I don't remember my mother going into town often either. Infact we lived so far out into the sticks that I didn't visit out local town until I was about five as everything we needed could be picked up in our small village.
Nice nostalgic post.

Simone said...

You have bought back so many memories for me kim. I remember our local grocer's where the floor was covered in sawdust and the sweet shop where the more expensive sweets were kept in a locked glass cabinet! The wrapping paper was a great find. I think I would be tempted to keep it too!

April said...

I love that rocking horse - it is gorgeous!!

April xx

Anonymous said...

It sounds just like the street where we used to live , I also remember that you could leave prams safely outside the shops with no worries whatsoever. We also had a local wool shop which was like an Aladdins cave for me with all the colours-- ahh memories
Lisa x

Cowboys and Custard Mercantile said...

Isn't it wonderful how a piece of Christmas wrapping paper can bring back a flood of memories and such golden ones too...
I find Christmas cards and wrap from the earl 60's so evocative and they instantly transport me to my magical childhood Christmasses..
I can just imagine that shop of your childhood .. I can even capture the smell of it.. We had a similar shop at the end of our lane where I ended up working on the sweet counter as a Saturday girl.. I was probably paid in penny chews but I was in my element playing shops!

Sea Angels said...

I love it when such memories mingle with our current special times, they are the best gifts in the world our comfort blankets to share and keep us warm.
Have a wonderful time this evening, I do hope you will all be fit to go ...we are going to a Carol Service...(I love the smell of Frankinscense)then opening some Champagne at home later how giddy is that!!
I hope you will have the most fabulous time all of the holidays.
Christmas Hugs, and mince pie kisses... to you Kim and your family.
Lynn xx

Country Cottage Chic said...

You were lucky to find the vintage paper - the images really bring back memories don't they? Like old Christmas & birthday cards.
Such a shame that so many local shops have closed down, but we can try & keep that feeling by shopping online from the little "shops" that sell such lovely individual things.

I was determined that this year our Christmas dinner wouldn't come from the supermarket, so the ham & turkey are locally reared & purchased from the butcher, the veg will be from an organic box delivered to my door & the puddings & sweet things will be homemade.

Wishing you & all your family a wonderful Christmas!

Pam said...

And a very happy Christmas from me too.

meggie said...

We took my step dauthter to see the Wizard of Oz when she was five. Her mother said she had nightmares, & I felt so sad for her, dear little girl.

Old Chrissy memories came flooding back when I saw the old paper..

Niki Fretwell said...

A truly wonderful post Kim.
I have similar memories to you of when I grew up in Hertfordshire.

Hope you have a fantastic Christmas with your girls and all the very best for 2009,
Niki x

Libby Buttons said...

What a wonderful story from your childhood. I occasionally will snatch up a vintage find and then cannot use nor part with it due to fond childhood memories. Times were simpler and it is so nice to recall them.

Twiggy said...

I remember wrapping paper just like that. Our shop was great too, I always used to buy my Mum a box of Black Magic for Christmas, they were always kept on the top shelf behind the counter. I also used to buy her A Wade Whimsies figure every year for the princely sum of 99p!!
Twiggy x

Cape Cod Rambling Rose said...

What nostalgic paper! I wouldn't dare part with it either! Perhaps you can make a shadowbox for Christmas and use that paper for the background (a la Michele of Cowboys)! =)

I hope you are having a wonderful few days before Christmas! =)

Cape Cod Rambling Rose said...

PS - my parents found an old box of 60's-70's Christmas cards which my grandfather received. They gave them to me, and those cards bring back so many memories (especially since I know most of the people who signed the cards... talk about a Noah-sized-flood of emotions from seeing all those signatures of friends and family)! =) (oh yes... what a silly signature I had back in those days! lol)

Poppy said...

Have a lovely Christmas!

love Lou xxx

Dotty said...

oh those oh man.... i love them.....

Anonymous said...

Oh Kim, what memories your description of little shops evoked. If they didn't stock it, you couldn't have it. Toy shops had dark corners where you would discover unsold toys. The smell of paraffin stoves and the glorious subtle scents you find in 'old' chemist's shops always transport me back to the Christmases of my childhood. Wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas. Eli