Note from Dan: Wayne Goodman penned this last week on this thread.
“I remember watching some of those long ago parades along Church Avenue with the inflatable balloons and the pageantry. Downtown Roanoke was still the shopping center for most of Southwest Virginia. and the department stores and merchants along Jefferson Street, Church Avenue, Campbell Avenue., and around the market square and First Street went all out in the Christmas season. As a youngster my mother or grandmother took us to visit the Santaland at Heironimus or in Pughs
Often a week or so before Christmas my grandmother, who lived with or adjacent to us for many years would take me and/or my brothers and sisters as they grew older on the city bus on a Saturday morning and we would spend the day downtown in the Christmas-time atmosphere. I usually was able to save a few dollars during the year and grandma would add a dollar or two to it and take me to Woolworths or SS Kresge to shop and buy inexpensive trinkets and gifts for my family. We would have lunch at the Woolworths lunch counter or at the soda fountain at the old Thornton and Creasy pharmacy and then take in a movie at one of the five downtown theaters ( usually some b-grade western at the old Rialto.)
Then on another day before Christmas, my Father would take me with him downtown to the city market area to grocery shop at the old A & P store which was where we bought most of the staples for the family except for the meat. That trip always included a swing around through the market area, hot dogs at the Roanoke Wiener Stand, and buying some oranges, apples, and nuts from the vendors around the market and sometimes a Christmas tree. Read more »