Monday, March 19, 2018

Golden Oldies Playing in the Golden Arches of Small Town America

 We have arrived home again after a long weekend touring small towns in Washington State. I hope to take a day-trip soon and do the same in Oregon.
 I will try to post a road map here, showing all the historic districts we visited, including the old railroad stations, or "ray-road" as Mr. S. always says. He was supposedly an English Major, graduating from a well-known state university, and then a school teacher before  I ever knew him, before he went into preaching, and it always amuses me that he can make up his own words. Is that allowed if you were supposed to be some sort of expert in grammar, spelling, and all that? I guess if you are an English Major you have poetic license or something. "I will drive by slowly so you can get a picture of the ray-road." he says.
 We were in the area to conduct a Marriage Enrichment fellowship at a lake retreat that a small church of  Christ invited us to. They paid our gas to get there and back, and our overnight stay. It was a bring-your-own-bedding-and-towels situation, and this year we were much better prepared and did not have to use our coats as blankets.
 These are some early 20th century photographs in the windows of some of the shops in one old town, but it was hard to get the pictures without the reflections in the glass. You can see how the people were on the same street I was on, and how they were dressed.
 One thing that always made an impression on me from looking at the early 20th century photos of the towns, was the way people milled around on the sidewalks, which were covered by canopies, and window-shopped. The windows of shops in those days had very nice displays. I'd be hard pressed to find a decent window display these days, and a lot of shops do not even have windows. A window dresser was a very skillful person and there were sometimes contests. There were window-dressing schools as late as the 1960's in some countries.  I was always curious as to what one would learn in a window-dressing class.
 It is a delight to see these old towns coming alive again, full of lovely shops, with people of all ages happily walking the sidewalks again.  We were amused in one town when some of the proprietors came out of the shops and waved to us to come in and browse!  One man opened the door and said he had seen us pass by and wondered if we had not seen the door.
 No one minded if we didn't buy anything; they just wanted us to come in and browse.
 Down by the train station the streets were paved with old bricks.

 Okay, now I will tell you all about that crazy title about the golden arches!  In some of these small historic towns, we stopped in at MacDonalds to get hot water for my thermos so I could have tea in the car or wherever we could stop.  While I do not recall what town this one was in, I just HAD to get pictures of the interior decor!
 How about this fireplace for chilly days? It was quite cold during this trip, and the little corner where this real fire was burning, was flanked by cute bistro tables and chairs.

The art prints, woodwork , hanging lamps, wrought iron gate and tapestry:

But, what was even more astonishing (I don't get out much, so if you already knew this, it might not be a surprise) was what we HEARD inside two of the Golden Arches where we stopped: The music of the Glenn Miller band, and later on down the road, Mozart, was playing inside these fast-food places. Maybe someone was reading what so many of us have been complaining about on our blogs regarding the awful jarring music shoved down our throats in restaurants and shopping areas. You may recall me relating how my father called it "noise-ick" back in the 198o's.

 I posted reviews to every place we visited that had gentle music and pretty interiors.

Some of the female employees at MacDonalds were wearing knee length blue skirts that looked kind of like the airline stewardess uniforms of the 1950's, and I complimented them.  They smiled.  I have no idea what is going on with MacDonalds, but it was such a nice experience even though I was just filling my thermos.

I even took a picture of a polished floor at a Walmart, and gave it a good review. It all makes travelling so MUCH BETTER. Maybe if you are younger and are reading this, you do not quite see why, but if you are over 40, you may remember there was a time when the only stops were filthy gas stations with dirty sinks and trash cans so full you would not touch them.  Its nice to be alive these days with so much improvement.  I remember also when trash lined the side of the roads.  Now, each small town we toured had clean streets and sidewalks.  There were city supplied trash cans available everywhere.

So here are a few more pictures from yesterday that I took when we stopped. Mr. S. was ultra-patient-to-the-max to stop at all these old towns for me. Sometimes he sat in the car and read his maps while I walked around town, but I could still see the car and felt quite comfortable. There were no street lights but cars politely stopped when any one stood at the crossing areas.
 It was hard to get a picture without people in it covering the areas I wanted to show, because these towns were teaming with life in the shops and the cafes along the old streets.  It was nice to see. I think the malls have "had their day" and people don't mind getting out in the weather in an old town.
Inside the antique and gift shops we could hear more golden oldie music and easy listening from the past decades, and some were being played on old record players and stereos. This was such a different sound from vinyl records on stereos with good speakers. I understand the younger people are quite interested in going back to this kind of thing because the sound is so much better. I guess I will have to dig out my old records, now that the record players and stereos are coming back. I saw some brand new ones in a local store recently.

 This shop was almost a block long and very high-end, elegant. I think I've seen this on the web.

I have a map (somewhere) that I folded up and put in my purse,  but I'm still in a bit of mess (yes, after just a few days away), and have not located it. I'll post it here when I do.
 One more picture of the lake view where we stayed a day and a night.  For the evening meal before everyone departed, they had put long tables together and tablecloths, candles and real dinnerware, and made it feel like fine dining. It was ever so nice but I got so caught up in it all I totally forgot to take any pictures except for this one, as the daylight faded:

I will try to post again soon and share some human interest stories. You know the saying: "I write stories, so anything you say could end up in my book!" 

While it seems I have been quite chatty the last few posts, the best is yet to come, which I will post soon,  the Lord willing (and the creek don't rise!)



Laura Jeanne said...

I enjoyed all these photos and stories from your trip, Lydia. Thank you for sharing these with us. I wouldn't mind window shopping in some of those small towns, myself. :)

Lydia said...

Laura Jeanne, it was more interesting, relaxing and holiday- ish than taking the speedway. We were observing how the complicated freeway system bypassed small towns, even though there were exits. Traffic never actually sees e small town streets. We made an effort to follow the older roads. I do miss travel in the times before freeways when traffic was either coming or going, and you didn't have to get in the proper lanes to get to your exits. google traffic maps make it easier but on the old roads, you travel from town to town quite easily and never miss anything along the way. It was a bit of a negotiation thing to get Mr. S. to skip the freeways, but once he saw the Ray-road stations and trains he was sold on the old towns, plus he like the music.

anonymous said...

I loved this post and the fact that Mr.S took you to all those nice small towns. My husband seldom stops in small towns unless there is a car museum. Although he did surprise me with a trip for lunch to an out of the way tea room once. I loved it and would love to do that again someday.
Rail road or Ray-road, makes no matter, the point is you are having fun together.
Janet Westrup

amulbunny's random thoughts said...

There is a small restaurant around here that has 2 locations. Not a mom and pop, but well liked by the 60+ crowd (they have the most amazing beef vegetable soup), and their walls are decorated with Norman Rockwell prints. It's always so comfortable to go to either location.

We live on a street that dead ends at a one way street. The railroad runs through the green belt and separates the streets. I love to go out when I hear the whistle and watch it go past. He has to alert at each and every cross street so we hear it from quite a distance.

Glad you got to go on a tour of small towns. Looks wonderful.