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"Going Downtown"

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Posted by Pamela Storm on Thursday, July 07, 2005 at 10:41:39 :

When I was a little girl growing up in Noe Valley, I recall that "going downtown" was a pretty big deal. It wasn't something we did very often, because most anything we might want or need could be found either right there in Noe Valley or in the Mission. But one reason I really looked forward to my birthday every year was because I knew I would be "going downtown" with my grandparents, Albert and Myrtle (Seielstad) Mion.

I'm dating myself here <grin> but this would have been in the early 1960's. Mom (Judy Mion Storm) took pains to see that I was properly dressed for the occasion. She believed, even as late as the early '60's, that one simply did NOT "go downtown" in everyday clothes! My outfit would include one of my very best dresses, matching ribbons tied at the ends of my braids, freshly shined black patent leather Mary Janes, white anklets with lace trim, and a hat, white gloves and purse as well. The purse wouldn't have much inside, but would definitely hold a freshly ironed embroidered lace hankie.

We'd drive downtown, usually parking near the back of "The Big E" and off we'd go for a fun day of shopping. Nana and Papa would usually buy me a pretty new dress, and sometimes I'd come home with new shoes or a new coat, too.

But the BEST part of the whole day for me was stopping for lunch. They'd let me choose where I wanted to eat, so I'd always pick Foster's. Foster's wasn't a fancy place to eat by any means, but seeing all that yummy food lined up so beautifully as you walked down the length of the counter was pretty amazing when you're seeing it through 6-year-old eyes! Even better, Nana and Papa would tell me I could choose ANYTHING I wanted for lunch! "Anything?" I'd ask? "Anything," they'd reply. "I don't have to get any vegetables?" I'd ask? "It's your birthday, so you may have anything you like." Wow!

My birthday lunch was usually chocolate pudding served in a big parfait glass with gobs of whipped cream on top!

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