Posted by: patwogan | November 24, 2008

Shopping on Forty Cents an Hour

Independence, Kansas, had a Main Street, but the main street in town was Pennsylvania Avenue, known as Penn Avenue.  It was on Penn Avenue that most of the stores that sold what I wanted to buy were located. 

There was a store right next to Woolworth’s that sold women’s clothes.  So every Saturday when I got my pay envelope, I headed for Locke’s clothing store to see what I could buy.  Now when I was just working Saturday’s, keep in mind that my pay envelope contained around $4.50.  Two of the dresses I remember buying cost $8 to $10.  Locke’s had a way of always making the me feel welcome and important to them which included letting  me lay away clothes until they were paid for.  After I started working in the summer time I was able to get my dresses out of hock earlier and more easily.  Of course, by that time I had found out that Hammond’s down the street also had a lay away plan, too.  That gave me a little more selection for  clothes. 

I remember one time at Locke’s I laid away a Betty Rose suit which cost $35.00.  You do the math.  At forty cents an hour it took forever to pay off that one.  I must admit it was a beautiful brown suit which I hated by the time I got it paid for.  But it lasted for years and years.  I mean years and years. 

In a previous post I mentioned that I loved shoes.  I also knew that my Mom loved shoes, too, although she always bought black pumps because they would go with everything.  So one time, just for the heck of it, no occasion, I bought her a pair of brown very stylish platform shoes with a sling-back and peep toes.  They had nail-head trim on the platform and bows on the front.  Very classy and the cost, (yes, I remember the cost) was $11.95.  That equated to thirty hours work for me.  Mom was thrilled with the gift, I think, and she wore the shoes a lot for quite a few years.  I felt so good about being able to give those shoes to her. 

I also bought Mom a coffee table.  Yes, I remember the cost of that, too.  It was $29.95.  The furniture man told me the cost would be $29.95 plus carrying charges.  I told him I didn’t need to have the carrying charges added to the price as I would deliver it to Mom myself.  That’s when I learned what carrying charges were.  (Yes, kids, it was that glass-topped table Grandma Sumner had in the living room.)  Let’s see, at forty cents an hour, that was more than seventy hours. 

I also had to take out of my money a weekly contribution to the church and had to keep a little money for buying drinks at the drug store and ice cream at Coldwell’s which was right next to Woolworth’s. 

Locke’s was on one side and Coldwell’s Drug Store was on the other side of Woolworth’s, so when I say my money didn’t go very far, I was right in every sense of the word.



  1. In times like those as well as times like these the Lawaway plan is still a strong motivator for sales and savings.

  2. LOL – I love your last sentence.
    I think that is so neat that you, as a teenager, spent so much of your money on things for your mom!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: