Goin’ shoppin in the Big City of Orlando

 At least that is what it seemed like to a kid in the 50’s driving to Orlando for an all day shopping trip.  Not that it was that far, a little over 30 miles, but it took all day to shop and have lunch. 

 The middle of downtown had so many people wanting to cross the street that they even made cross walks diagonally as well as parallel to the street.  One reason for the traffic at this corner was three major stores vied for customers.. Ivey’s, Dickson & Ives, each were 4 stories high. Lerner’s Dress Shop was all on one level.  The fourth corner was a bank.

The large department stores had no cash registers only tubes that the clerk would place the bill for the merchandise and the money in.  Then it would shoot upstairs to the bookkeeping/accounting department and change was sent back down in the tube as well as the receipt.  We still get to use that type system at the drive up windows at the bank.

 To be seen downtown meant wearing hat and gloves.  Heels –ugh! You could walk blisters on your heels in no time.  Lunch was fun.  There was a Morrison’s Cafeteria in the first block west of the intersection.  A waiter would take the tray you had filled with food to your table for you.  Across the street was the San Juan Hotel. The stores downtown were large compared to the stores you find in the mall’s now days.  McCrory’s, Sears, Penney’s were about a half block in size. 

 There was also a Movie Theatre by the San Juan.  What else could someone want.  Oh yeah, 2 blocks east was Lake Eola.  There was a hugh water fountain in the middle of the lake with lights that changed colors.  What a spectacle.  There was a nice concrete walkway all the way around the lake. Lots of trees and park benches to relax on.  Concerts were held in the park sometimes.

There was plenty of parking, too.  We got to feed the parking meters.  There were some parking places along the street but most were lots the block behind the stores. Now of course, there is no street parking.  They need all that space for moving vehicles


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2009 - 2016, Fran Smith