Thursday, December 11, 2014

The magic of Wanamaker's and #TBT

As we continue to get moved into the house, one of my favorite things that I’m doing is putting up photos. We’ve had some older ones printed for collage-style frames, and it really brings back memories.

Facebook is criticized for many things, but say what you will about it – it is good for memories. And #TBT takes nostalgia to a new level with people finding photographs that have long since been forgotten. With those photos come stories from previous generations and lots of emotions.

Today my aunt posted this amazing photo of she and my father from the early 1950s: They were going to see Santa Claus at the John Wanamaker’s Department in Philadelphia.

They surely took the train from Trenton with my Pop Pop and BaBa. He was a railroad guy, and that was the thing to do. The two of them are holding hands and going to see the big guy like a pair with a plan.

He was the REAL Santa, of course. Why wouldn’t he be there? It had the grand pipe organ in the marbled atrium, and there was a narrated Christmas light show.  Maybe I’m making this up, but I think there was a monorail in the store, near Santa’s village too.

(Years later, my parents and my aunt and uncle did the same thing with me and my cousin. During a recent trip home, we were talking about this tradition, and I recalled that during the train trips and the commotion in the hot, crowded department store, I think I got sick once or twice. My cousin corrected me and said, “You threw up EVERY year.”  Sorry about that.)

I still don’t love crowded places, and sitting on hot planes is never my favorite thing in the world, but thank goodness, I’ve become a better traveler. Unfortunately, Wanamaker’s is long gone (it became Hecht’s or Lord & Taylor? and is now Macy’s), but I’m glad that I got to do it.

It’s funny – I’ve been working on the Pennsylvania TourBook all this week, and as I’m getting to Philadelphia, more than anything, I want to get on the train to go see Santa and ask him to see Pop Pop and BaBa one more time. As I’m running around getting  ready for the holidays, this is a good reminder about this time of year.