I spent most of my childhood in a neighborhood community north of Atlanta, Georgia. Life was pretty simple in the 1950’s and 60’s for most folks. Our community was pretty big to us with 25,565 people. One of the nicest things about “downtown” was the way it was constructed. First of all, in the dead center of downtown was a really nice park. It had trees and a nice fountain and benches along the pathways. It also had a wonderful playground. The “playset” that is popular now had not been invented at that time. So we had swing sets. The large metal posts supported the most fantastic swings known to man. Chains held large wooden seats and allowed the swing sitter to be able to really go high. It was glorious! The park was surrounded by locally owned stores, a bank, a hardware store and two movie theaters. Everything you could want you could purchase right across from the park. All of my shoes were purchased at the shoe store which had a fascinating thing that you would stand in to check your size. Actually, it was probably a dangerous kind of x-ray but hey! we survived and wore the correct size shoe. The drugstore had a luncheon bar that served the best grilled cheese sandwiches anywhere. There was a “dime store” where you could purchase “Evening in Paris” cologne. There was a hat store because women wore “real” hats in those days. But the single most important store to me was the book store.
I loved to go in the bookstore. It had Blue Horse binders in the fall for school and the best selection of books anywhere. Actually it was the only selection of books except for the public library. I LOVED to read. I can’t remember learning to read. I just remember loving the written word and reading everything I could find. There were no paperback books to my knowledge. But there were loads of books in the book store. Because my Nannie knew my love of reading, she would mail me a dollar once a month. Glory be! A dollar was exactly the cost for a hardback book. I purchased some Bobbsey Twin books and loved them. But then I discovered T.H.E perfect book series for me…… Nancy Drew. Oh My! When I received that dollar from Nannie, I would beg my mother to go to town so I could get another Nancy Drew book. They were hardbacks. I would read them over and over again. I felt like Nancy, Bess and George were my best friends. I only read them in order. So when they were out of the “next” book in the series, I would check back in so that I could get the next adventure as soon as possible! When I finished the Nancy Drew series, I began the Cherry Ames series. For years I wanted to be a nurse thanks to Cherry. Then came the Sue Barton books and last of all, the Vicki Barr books. Oh the places I visited with those wonderful characters..for only one dollar!