I saw a challenge on Facebook the other day: It asked people to write about their favorite memories of stores and to explain the influence that those stores made on their lives. To anyone who isn’t a genealogist, this topic probably sounds odd (especially if you aren’t a huge fan of shopping in the first place). However, to us genealogists, this journal entry makes a ton of sense. Imagine your descendants 100 years from now finding this entry that you wrote; Imagine their excitement to have a journal entry like this that serves as a great door to their time period?
So, without further wait, here is my journal entry on my favorite stores and their impact on my life:
As a kid of about 8 years old, I lived in a suburb of Seattle, WA known as Kent. I lived on a small dead-end street about 5 blocks from a larger street with a Fred Meyers on it.
For those of you not familiar with the store – it is a large store, someone similar to a WalMart or Target that sells groceries and department store items.
My friends and I practically lived on our bikes at the time and we were allowed to go out on our bikes and ride around the neighborhood. We had walkie talkies that we carried with us so our parents could talk to us should they need to, but we were rarely home. We spent our time outside.
While I was the cautious child, my best friend Erin was not. She was a dare devil and always up for adventure. Whenever our sweet tooth called but our parents denied, we would search the house for nickels, dimes, quarters…going through couches, washing machines, even our parents’ underwear drawers in hope of finding some cash. We would grab our money, get on our bikes and sneak down to Fred Meyers.
We would stroll our way down the candy isle, devising a plan to get the most candy for the little money we had. Picking candy up, counting out our change, making last minute decisions, prioritizing our sugary selections.
When we finally got to the cash register, candy and a zip lock bag full of change, the wonderful brunette that ran the cash register would smile at us.
“Stocking up I see,” she would always say.
“Yep, gotta have our Twix and Butterfingers,” we would say. She would patiently ring us up, help us count our change and tell us to hurry home before we became caught.
She was so kind to us. When we would go there with our parents for the grocery shopping she would never say a word. She would always just give us a good wink. It was like our little secret.
As I got older I went to Fred Meyers less and less. Soon, I realized that the wonderful brunette who had contributed to my candy consumption as a child had moved on and left Fred Meyers.
So that is my story about Fred Meyers and the wonderful memories it has given me. I only wish that I could go back in time and listen to my ancestors talk about the general store or the local grocery store… It is the little things like this that make genealogy so worth while.