Thursday, October 28, 2010

"F" is for Five and Dime

I am participating in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe~Thursday. This Thursday is about the letter "F".

Stop on by Jenny's blog and read some really good short stories about the letter "F" here:

The Five and Dime

When I was a little girl, one of four little girls in our family, our grandmother used to take us to a Five and Dime store called McCrory’s.  It wasn’t a large chain store like Wal-Mart; it had a limited supply of unusual, but inexpensive items by today’s standards.  

My grandmother,  mamaw  Lena,  would take us there to purchase Christmas presents for our parents, other grandparents and each other. The memories I have from shopping in the Five and Dime are happy ones. Some of the things we would buy for our parents and grandparents weren’t very expensive and are now obsolete, or hard to find,  and if you can still find them they are now expensive. I thought I would share a few with you.

Evening in Paris Eau de Toilette (

I always thought this was a funny name, “Toilette”, and my sister would always refer to it as toilet water. I actually thought that’s what it was for many years.

 Hankies (  
What little old woman didn’t carry one back then? We always bought hankies for our mamaw’s. They carried them pinned inside their bras with money inside of them for when they didn’t need purses. They pinned our milk money and church tithes inside of our dresses too. I can remember mamaw Lena pulling out money to buy a bottle of soda pop from the machine outside of the Five and Dime store. The four of us would share it. It was icy cold, sweet, made you burp, or it came out your nose.  The littlest usually got stuck with the last swig that nobody else seemed to want.

Nail kits ( 
Every Christmas we usually got one of these in our stocking. Along with a big fat shiny orange, a tooth brush, or hair brush and comb, a pair of gloves for church, or maybe some nail polish. There was always hard candy in the bottom of the stocking. The hard candy stuck to the stocking so it usually had red fur on it. We ate it anyway.

 Rain Bonnets, Scarves, Shower caps, Curlers. (  
Mom, and both our grandmother's always used these practical gifts. I can still remember carrying a plastic rain bonnet to Elementary school.


Shoes shine products, Shoe laces, shoe horns, Zippo lighters with flint packs, coin purses, back scratchers, collapsible medicine cups (, all were useful things back then that could be purchased inexpensively from the Five and Dime.

Carnival Glass, Milk glass, and Early American Press Cut glass. ( and Wikipedia/Manfred Hyde)
Carnival glass was treated to have an iridescent sheen. It was also called “Poor Man’s Tiffany”. Milk glass was white and opaque and pressed into different shapes, and came in several colors. Early American Press Cut was clear glass with a “Star of David” shape pressed into the glass. These also came in various colors. My mom proudly adorned her coffee table and dinner table with many of these gifts we bought for her from the Five and Dime. Mom always had a candy dish or tidbit plate sitting around, and a Milk glass bowl filled with beaded fruit decorated our dining room table for years. Now I have one on my own table. I guess it’s because it reminds me of mom's.
(You can click on this to make it larger)
Some Five and Dime stores had luncheonettes.  Ours didn’t get one until many years later when our little town built its first mall and the  Five and Dime moved into it. When my daughter was little I would take her there for a Patty Melt, or a grilled cheese sandwich and soup, or a root beer float. Good food and cheap! Ah …..the “Five and Dime.”  Those were simpler times and wonderful memories!


Viki said...

I remember having some of those things or buying some for Mom. Five and dimes were the best.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Fabulous finds from the five and dime!

Decgal's Humble Abode said...

We had a woolworth store when I was little. It had a basement where the really cheap items were. I loved to eat there at the counter....ohhh the grilled cheese sandwiches and the chocolate malts were so good. We would shop there to for gifts. Thanks for the memories. I sound like Bob Hope. Decgal

Sue said...

Ah yes, I remember it well! I used to go to our 5 and dime (Woolworth's) to sit up to the soda fountain and have a banana split!


PS. And don't forget the "beautiful" necklaces on cheap chains in little boxes that we could buy for mom!

magsmcc said...


Jackie said...

Frugal ftw! :p

Anonymous said...

I just barely remember the drug store and visiting it a time or two when I was really young. I really loved this post!


Pondside said...

What a great post! I well remember the five and dime stores. The one I remember best had a wooden floor and long wooden counters on which things were displayed - one walked along the counters to choose the wares. There was always a smell - something like a combination of dust and wood and paper - not unpleasant.

Judie said...

This really brings back memories! We had a 5 and dime called Horton's. Their slogan was "If we don't have it, you don't need it!" They were right! They even had a soda fountain! We would order root beer floats!
Thanks for the great post!

jen said...

The plastic rain bonnets! So remember them! Why don't we use them now? Much easier than umbrellas. I'm gonna google them.
New follower from Jenny Matlock. Pleased to meet you!

Tracy said...

what a lovelt post full of fab memories

Mary said...

Simpler times is right~ I have fond memories of visiting Woolworth's with my grandmother when I was little! It always seemed like a treasure trove. Great F post, thanks for taking me back :-)

Anonymous said...

That was a great 'f' post! I used to always have hard candy at the toe of the Christmas stocking too. MMmmmm red fuzz. Still today the type of Christmas hard candy - the ribbon type- reminds me of my Grandma. Thanks for sharing!

Splendid Little Stars said...

oh my! What memories you have brought back. I remember many of these things. What ever happened to the wearing of plastic rain bonnets?!

CCC said...

So many memories. Now every Christmas gift seems to need batteries.

Francisca said...

Not sure I've ever been to a Five and Dime, but just a few years ago I started carrying cloth handkerchiefs again and they are lovely!

Sumi said...

Wow.This sure does bring back old memories.I am not from your country but the kind of gifts that were given back when I was a kid have also changed so much.The biggest thing that I miss is not the gifts but the cards that people used to send each other.Now everything is on email.I think I will start sending paper cards to people from now onwards.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Lourie said...

I don't remember 5 and dime stores, but I do remember a lot of those items.

Gattina said...

I remember that an orange was already a big gift !
my grandma preferred a walled to hankies, lol although she was born in 1894 !


I loved that post! I loved the 5 and Dime and do you remember the awesome smell of them. They all smelled the same....for some reason. I used to visit one to buy comic books when I would visit my cousins in Gulfport and every time I get a whiff of that smell.....I think of the 5 and Dime. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Jenny said...

I remember the 5 and Dimes, too! What a wonderful post! This brought back many happy memories...for me it was always the record bin.

There's a great song about the Five and Dime by Nanci Griffith! It always makes me smile when I hear it.

And your link to Alphabe-Thursday made me smile...really big, too!

Thanks for linking.

This was terrific.