Memories of John Wanamaker’s, Wilmington, Delaware

The weather here is fall-like. I find myself thinking about autumn in Delaware. We had a September ritual. Mother took us to John Wanamaker Department store in Wilmington shopping for dark cotton.

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Memories of Wanamaker’s include:

The first floor had the bakery, furniture, and housewares. Up the escalator to the second level and you’d find clothing, jewelry, and cosmetics.  I don’t recall if they sold toys.  Maybe Madame Alexander dolls?

The bakery made drop cakes, which were about as big around as a large cookie. They were domed and dipped in frosting. I always chose chocolate.

The children’s department had a huge swing hanging from the ceiling. Perched on it was a giant stuffed teddy bear. I would reach way up, grab a fat rope, pull hard and set the bear swinging. That was fun.

The Ivy dining room, aptly named because the walls were papered in a green and white English Ivy print. We’d go there for lunch. Marilyn usually got a club sandwich. No memory of what Mother ate. Naturally, I had a cream cheese on soft white bread, the kind that has no nutritional value.

The parking lot was tiered. You parked then descended many levels to the store entrance.

Mother purchased a very 60’s looking coffee table at John Wanamaker. It was long, sleek, low and had a starburst inlaid on the top. The legs joints were wrapped in rattan. Marilyn hated that table.

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The lines of the table were a lot like this.

 

Daddy took me to Wanamaker’s shopping while I was in college. He spent way more than Mother would have. I got long cream color nightgown trimmed in grosgrain ribbon with matching robe. I also bought a navy blue swing coat with brass buttons, new navy pumps, and a cute short dress.

I modeled the items for him as he sat in a chair, beaming. He did love his girls.

Wanamaker’s later became Macy’s. I wonder if that building is still standing?

Waco. The Silos!

We were told to arrive very early at the Silos. Otherwise, we’d meet long lines and stand in the oppressive August heat. We bounded (Lie. Hobbling is more our morning style) out of bed. Sucked down a cup of La Quinta coffee and headed to Happy Hounds, Bronson’s play-date for the day. Dropped the kid off and he never even looked back. He must have been ready for some canine companionship.

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Front door, Happy Hounds.

 

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Lovely greeting from the other kids at daycare.

 

While driving to the Silos, I suddenly remembered I’d left my engagement ring, as well as my mom’s engagement ring, in our hotel room.

My mother’s ring has enormous sentimental value. Daddy sold his blood while getting his masters degree at the University of Michigan. He wouldn’t buy food. Every blood earned nickel was saved to purchase that ring.

As for my engagement ring–I adore it and the man who gave it to me. We raced back to the room where I found both rings snuggling safely in their secret hiding place. (I’d tell you what that secret place is, but then I’d have to kill you.)

We arrived at the Silos shortly after their nine a.m. opening. Jim dropped me off by the bakery while he went to find parking. I opened my white umbrella–an Amazon purchase in anticipation of Waco and Dallas sunshine–and stood to wait for Jimmy.

But the bakery beckoned me. Just a peek? I had no money so even if tempted couldn’t purchase a gluten free goodie. It turns out there were only three GF options–all cookies. If they’d offered cupcakes, I would have waited for my bank, Jim, to show up. I would have purchased a devils food with buttercream frosting delight and eaten every darn carb laden crumb. But it wasn’t to be. Joanna, my thighs thank you.

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The exterior of bakery.

 

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Exterior of Shops

 

The place is divided into different areas.  Shopping housewares, shopping garden, shopping bakery, playing, relaxing, eating food purchased from trucks.

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The place seemed busy-ish to us. Employees told us it was a VERY slow morning. Jim and I checked out the shopping. Every square inch has Fixer Upper styling. Almost each shopper was busily gathering items for purchase.

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Cute way to display paint colors and wallpaper.  I will remember this for the next time I open a store.

 

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I tried to interest Jim in a giant “Demo Day” hammer.  He prefers an easy chair and the newspaper.  Go figure.

 

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The interiors are all about shopping. Exterior offers a giant fake grass play area, lined with black and white bean bag chairs to accommodate spectators. There are many picnic tables as well as bunches of food vending trucks. Few were open.

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All of the merchants were local Waco restaurants. We wondered how the Gaines’ and the vendor’s split the monies. Do they rent space and also give up a percentage to the Silo business?

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This was my favorite because my parents always wanted an Airstream.

 

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We stood for a bit and watched families play on the faux grass. We sauntered around to suck in the atmosphere. We had driven from Palm Harbor, Florida to Waco for this experience. We owed it more than half an hour. By 11 a.m. we decided it was time to push on.

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The big rusty silos in this shot aren’t open to the public.  We were told there are future plans for them.

 

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As we left the Silos a bus-load of little kids got dropped off at a play yard next door.  Presumably, they were going to climb into those big plastic balls–each had a tube down the center–and roll sweatily around, then let another kid climb into the clammy cylindar and have their turn.  I was so glad not to be ten years old.

 

Next stop was the LaSalle Shoppes. Sixty-five vintage shops under one roof. My goal was to find buttons for the scarf I’m making. I hit pay dirt! Eight buttons and I got a discount. Whoo Hooo.

Then, because of all the wandering and button shopping, we were hungry. We had lunch at Cafe Cappuccino. An omelet with cream cheese and bacon for me, two eggs over easy/sausage/hash browns/toast for Jim. He has abandoned our “low to no carbohydrate” diet since the road trip began. He gets a hall pass since he does all the driving.

We then moved on to Spice Village. Located in a 1908 warehouse building in downtown Waco, Spice houses over 80 individual shops in a fun atmosphere. We thought we’d recognize many from Joanna’s televised shopping adventures. We didn’t. Nor did we buy anything.

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If I had bought anything at Spice Village, it might have been this.

 

At that point, Jim had just about enough shopping for one day. We went to the Waco Suspension Bridge. The bridge is often featured in opening scenes of Fixer Upper. It’s a beautiful landmark and was the first bridge across the Brazos River serving as crossing on the Chisholm and Shawnee cattle drives. What most impressed me were the beautiful bronze sculptures. A herd of thirty cattle being driven by two cowboys astride horses.

I studied the steer for a long time, trying to sort out how many sculptures had been created. There were duplicates, but the placement was carefully orchestrated to keep clones from being obvious.

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This little-painted rock was perched on the historical marker by the bridge.  Curious if it was glued on, I picked it up.

 

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Here’s what the other side said.  I chose not to keep/give/re-hide.  I turned it around and left it for some other curious traveler.

 

Then we decided we needed coffee to wake us up enough for MORE FOOD! We went to Common Grounds, the eclectic coffee shop near Baylor Campus and a quick walk from our hotel. The proprietors are the proud owners of one of the season two Fixer Upper homes. I remember that episode was the one where Chip ate a cockroach. Yum.

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Dinner was at George’s, and supposedly the locals love it. We found it underwhelming.

This morning Jim and Bdog let me sleep until 8:30. Fabulous. We poked around, drank some unfortunate La Quinta coffee, went to Honda dealer for new key-fob battery, and then had breakfast at a different Cafe Cappuccino location. Jim repeated his yesterday’s order. I added spinach to my cream cheese and bacon omelet. A green veggie now and again won’t kill me. I hope.

Today we only had a two-hour drive from Waco to Dallas, so I figured we might enjoy a little vintage button hunting on the way. I found a dandy antique store in some Podunk town along the way. I told Jim the place had GREAT Trip Advisor reviews. I chose not to mention there had been only two reviewers. Likely the owner and her sister.

No buttons. After that, I shut up and knit.

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This has grown tons since I snapped the photo. By the time we get to Liberty, Missouri I might be finished!  I hope these are, in fact, the colors Melinda requested.

 

Tomorrow we have a three-hour private tour of the Kennedy assassination route. After that possibly the Bush Presidential Library. Bronson has another spa date.  He will be well worn out when we pick him up at the end of the day.

For some reason, he has been off his feed since we began the road trip. I wish I could say the same for us. Oink.

For dinner tonight, Jim has located an excellent Italian restaurant nearby.  Yay!  More food!  Tomorrow we tour Dallas.  The day after that eight hours in the car to Liberty.  We began listening to our second Stone Barrington romp this afternoon.  Stone got laid before chapter three was over.  That man has stamina.  By the time we reach Liberty he may need to be put into traction.