TL;DR Vintage egg carton triggers fond childhood memories. I’m also seriously dating myself.
I received a very special vintage Woodward’s egg carton recently from a regular client. It sports a 93 cent price tag, and since the last Woodward’s Food Floor closed in the 1980s, this carton must be at least 30 years old.
What makes it extra-special for me is the memories it evokes. My dad sold furniture at Woodward’s all through my childhood. We were a Woodward’s family and I was a Woodward’s kid. Huge family Christmas parties with candy and presents for every child; REAL Santa Claus (he knew I whined about helping with the dishes!!!) and REAL reindeer in pens outside the store; eating fluted glass bowls of vanilla soft serve in the second floor restaurant while my parents chatted, being fitted for shiny new saddle shoes each school year; and hundreds of times, waiting “at the shoe door” (the exit near the Shoe Department) after the store closed, for Dad to descend the escalator, laughing and joking with his fellow salesmen, while imagining what fun I would have if I was left alone in the big store overnight. I knew the Toy Department inside out, and my fantasy also involved a nice soft bed up in Furniture, and plenty of treats from the Candy Counter.
We bought all our groceries at the Food Floor, and Mom saved the receipts in a popsicle stick box one of us kids had made, because Dad could turn them in once a year for a 15% rebate cheque. Those cheques must have come in very handy for our young family – even covering cabin rental at a resort up island one memorable summer. Woodward’s treated their staff very well in the ’60s and ’70s.
I remember shopping with Mom, my sister riding in the cart while I walked beside. Somehow baby sister got a hold of the egg carton, and smashed at least one egg on the floor before Mom could stop her. I clearly recall looking up in horror as Mom lunged for the carton, my eyes on level with baby sister’s feet; so I couldn’t have been more than four or five.
The best thing about the Food Floor (aside from the live lobsters in the green sea water tank) was the grocery delivery system. At checkout, the clerk packed tall brown paper bags of food into a wooden box, the same size as one of today’s blue recycling bins. Then with a mighty shove, she would send the bin down the chute below her register, along the steel rollers snaking into the deep underbelly of the store. We would go get in our car, and Mom would pull up to the tall racks outside in the parking lot, chant her surname to the man (“F as in Frank, I, M as in Mary, R, I, T, E”) and our groceries would be located, and loaded into the trunk pronto.
Then it was over to the gas station for “two dollars worth please”, and we’d be on our way home, supplied for another week.
My Woodward’s Food Floor egg carton is safely settled on a display shelf now, in my downstairs hatchery / kitchen, where I can enjoy it as I tend my eggs and chicks, and think back to simpler days, when I was just a little chick myself.