Teen dream, 1955: Saturday at large in downtown Anchorage

July 16, 2012 

It's 1955, you're 13 years old, you've got your allowance and some babysitting pay to spend, and you're headed to downtown Anchorage for a Saturday afternoon without parental oversight. What to do? Oh, the possibilities! A contributor to the Growing Up Anchorage blog recalls the sense of unbridled freedom she felt as she and a friend got on the city bus, headed for Fourth Avenue. First stops: Cherry Cokes in the bowling alley, then checking the latest pop hits at Dorn's record store.

The sun was bright and the day was warm as we crossed the street to look into the window of David's Furriers, where I would later purchase the skins that Susie's mother used to make my fur parka, a true work of art. Back on the sunny side of the street we passed the Silver Dollar Saloon, where we discussed hearing that there were silver dollars embedded in the bar; we made a pact to someday check out that bar to see those dollars. My dad collected silver dollars and always jokingly (I think) told us that they would be our inheritance.

Next it was on to look into Ellen's Jewelry Store, where we pretended that we might buy a pair of wonderful ruby drop earrings. How I coveted those earrings! Ellen waited on us herself and I laugh now as I think how patient she was with two young teens acting as though they were seriously about to spend $895. I laugh that I still remember the price today.

Before they headed home: a stop at Holy Family Cathedral, where there'd be milk and cookies courtesy of Father Baker, "a great mentor" who tried to help them understand such depressing adolescent realities as "Why don't adults understand that we've grown up?"

Read more at Growing Up Anchorage: "Avez-vous une cigarette?"

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