When I was in my early teens, we had two distinct Presidential Holidays … there was Washington’s (February 22) and Lincoln’s Birthday (February 12th). The Government had not rallied around the White House to make Presidents Day all inclusive then, and the biggest day for Mama was not Valentines Day. It was Washington’s Birthday. (We happened to live in our Founding Father’s city, Washington, DC.) And the sales. The Post would list the sales for the shops that mostly are no longer doing business in DC (or anywhere for that matter) … Lansburgh’s, Garfinckels, Hechts (Hechts was on 7th and F St … oh how we loved Hechts!
And oh yes, there was Woodward and Lothrop … or Woodies to Mama. We would camp out early on 7th Street to begin the day of bargain hunting. She once got a sewing machine for ten dollars by being the first customer in line. Back then people didn’t try to knock you down getting through the door. They acted more civilized for the most part.
We always hit Hechts first, then moved on to Lansburgh’s and Garfinkels … that is where Mama’s mink stole came from and I think she paid twenty five dollars for it.
After a few hours of shopping we would stop at the Hop Shoppe for burgers and fries and a fountain soda. Our feet would be tired but our spirits would be high. We would manage to get home (we lived on Reservoir Road NW then) with all the packages in tact somehow.
Mama would go through her wonderful finds occasionally saying “why in the world did I buy this?” One of us would say “it was on sale” and that question answered, she would continue her perusal.
Now when the sales go on for Presidents Day the TV ads are mostly disgusting. They have impersonators dancing like lunatics to the most awful music they can dig up. There is no dignified recreation of the photos of our dearly departed Mr. Washington and Mr Lincoln. I have no desire to go bargain hunting. For one thing, you are apt to have to go looking for first aid due to the horrible manners of the rest of the bargain hunters. But it is really the TV ads that are most offensive. I’m sure that not only are the Presidents supposed to be represented frowning down from Heaven, that third face you see giving the famous Douglas glare is Mama. She is not at all pleased.
— Sandi McBride is a resident of Jefferson, who blogs regularly and enjoys her garden and her furry and feathered friends. She is a wife and mother of two sons.