The Painting Blog

Started as a daily painting blog but this is easier to live with-
the once-in-a-while blog of a painter who also writes.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Wonderful Wadena


I grew up in the Wadena area, shopped there, graduated from high school there.
Wadena held my first sense of the world. I hovered over small purchases at the Woolworth’s store and Ben Franklin. I still have a 49 cent Christmas ornament made from a real egg shell that came from one of those stores.
Both J C Penney and Sears were catalog stores. You could order from their 2-inch thick catalogs and pick up the items at the stores or have them delivered. It may have taken 6 weeks to arrive but that only built anticipation. Their Christmas catalogs were delights to the eyes and if you were the type to sniff new books, catalogs were sniffable, too.
The jewelry stores were great for window shopping and they probably had to regularly wipe down the nose prints.
I followed my dad into the hardware and feed stores and went with him to pick up the cream check at the creamery.
I was a regular visitor at Rex McDonald photography studio since my mom worked there. I worked there, too, when I was in high school.
One place I never ventured into was the old hotel. Curiosity wasn’t a good enough reason and it was a little spooky before it was restored. I suppose the train depot was open back then but like the hotel, I couldn’t conjure up a reason to sneak in.
Kerfoot’s bookstore was a little spooky, too, and I never ventured inside until my brothers and I were old enough to go in on our own. We didn’t look for books. There were fascinating and mysterious items which included magic tricks and oddities. The proprietor was an old man who probably cultivated a little fear in young visitors just to keep his collection from disappearing.
The Cozy Theatre was a little smaller back then but what a memorable experience it was to go through the doors into another world. One of my earliest memories is of a scene of a beautiful woman floating down a river on a raft and another much scarier memory of a small boy being chased by a huge spider. The Saturday Christmas matinees were exciting and ended with the gift of a bag of peanuts from Santa.
Creating a set of Wadena images sparked lots of memories. These images are on note cards and more recently in “A Little Art” portfolios. Ask Lina at the Wadena Museum and Bookstore and she’ll show you the current supply of "Wonderful Wadena."

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