Sears and Other Department Stores

by Grace Lerant


My parents always took a monthly trip from our home in Kenilworth to Sears and Roebuck, a building with a basement and two floors, to pay on their charge account. This was the Sears located just off McCarter Highway on Elizabeth Avenue.

There was a lady just inside the entrance who fried and sold donuts, hot and delicious by the bag. It was a fun place to a 9-year-old. There was a yard goods section on the second floor, where my mother, who was an excellent seamstress, enjoyed choosing material for dresses she would sew for herself and for me. The basement held tools and sporting goods. For some reason the jars of bait (fish eggs and the like) held the utmost fascination.

Additionally, my mother and I would often go downtown and hit Kresges, Bambergers, Orbachs, Kleins, and McCrory's. Not to mention Woolworths. We always had lunch at the lunch counter in Kresge's basement. For some reason the Seahorse over the door to the cafeteria always made a big impression on me.

Speaking of Kleins, I remember the fellow who would announce the next big impending sale over the PA system, and the shoppers would go stampeding in that direction. I remember the shoe bins. The "Jewelry" counter. Once I bought this irresistible, garish red rhinestone necklace and earring set for a friend's sweet sixteen party.

How I wish those days were here again.


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