|Pearl Dibbens and Frances Dibbens in Wichita about 1957|
When Grandma would come to visit, we would go shopping downtown. I can still remember walking through Kress Department Store, on Douglas and Broadway, and looking at the clothing folded neatly on big square display tables along with anything else you could ever need. They had a bargain basement that we enjoyed wandering through, stopping to admire whatever they had to offer. That is also where the toy department was. I don't remember that they had as many shelves as they did racks and large display tables with drawers and cabinets below where more merchandise was kept. The staircase leading down to the basement was wide with red tile.
Macy's and J.C.Penney's had elevators with operators who slid the metal gate and the door closed before cranking a dial that would take us to another floor. When the elevator stopped, the operator would call out the floor number and what we could find there. I thought that would be a fun job! Macy's had a mezzanine with a walk-way that led to the offices. It also had tall escalators. Coming down from the 2nd floor, I would look down to the main floor with the glass jewelry and make-up counters along with shoes and bags.
At Christmas, it was the outside of the store that was the biggest attraction for me. Every big showcase window had an elaborate display of moving scenes of toy land or a winter wonderland. Our family would stand in front of each window, and bundled up in our coats, hats and mittens, my sisters and I would take in every detail of each window. Then we would pile back in the car and head for King's X Restaurant for a cup of hot chocolate.