Having written a post just a few days ago paying tribute to Stickwood’s, a wonderful old-fashioned dry-goods store that the village of Madoc used to boast, I thought I should also make mention of Ross’s Ladies’ Wear, also long gone. While Stickwood’s sold men’s work and dress clothes (and maybe kids’ clothes too? I’m not sure) and footwear for all – and upstairs had fabrics and “notions” and patterns and whatnot for people who sewed, which was almost all women (save my mother) in the days of my childhood – it was Ross’s that had the things women really wanted: dresses and skirts and blouses and those newfangled slim-jim trousers. Not to mention pretty dressing gowns and sleepwear and of course unmentionables. (Or should I say “foundation garments”?)
Yes, there was a lot of stuff for sale in that not-very-big store. I remember very crowded racks and shelves, full of colourful garments. (Doubtless many made out of those space-age new fabrics like polyester and Ban-Lon and whatnot. Hey, it was the ’60s!) But the proprietor, Mr. Ross, and the handsome woman whom I remember also working there – I’m not sure if she was Mrs. Ross or not – were sure guides to customers in search of just the right thing, and they knew on which crowded rack to find that perfect thing, and in just the right size.
I also have it stuck in my memory that there was some kind of upper level or gallery at the back of the store – perhaps where the offices were? Can anyone enlighten me on whether I’ve got that right, or am utterly deluded?
Anyway, all I can say is that for a girl growing up in tiny Queensborough in those years, when going to “town” (Madoc) was always something of an event, a visit to Ross’s with my mum was a special treat. As I’m sure it was for my mum; we didn’t have a lot of money (my dad’s salary as a rural minister being about what you would expect, only less), so for my mum to buy a pretty new dress at Ross’s was a big deal.
Ah, those were the days. Have I ever mentioned that?