Tiedkes, My Favorite Department Store
By Winnie Kaetzel
The school year had already started. Dad’s newly harvested corn and beans lay in the granary waiting for the markets to go up so he could make a profit from all his hard work of planting seed and growing it to maturity. The cellar shelves were filled with hundreds of jars of fruits and vegetables that Mom had canned for our growing family’s culinary needs during the winter. After school kids were tumbling in newly raked piles of golden leaves that had fallen from all the many trees in our yard.
The soles of our feet had toughened and widened from going barefoot all summer. Our skin peeled off our back in sheets from being sunburned so many times. Before the cows could be milked we had to take Buster and chase them up from the other end of the pasture. All summer we’d played softball in the grove with the neighbor kids. We’d climbed into the haymow and swung on the empty hay slings to the opposite mow. We’d eaten garden fresh veggies and fruits and grown clean out of last years’ clothing. Our used winter coats were passed down to our next-in-line sibling who fit them. With no pass-me-down benefactors, we older kids were privileged to skip school for a day to go shopping with Mom and Dad for a new winter coat at Tiedtkes, the several-storied Wal*Mart-of-the-day located on the river front in Toledo, Ohio.
Tiedtkes was a special store. I loved to go there. As soon as you walked up the back steps from the parking lot, you turned right to the elevators in front of the candy department. Those well-lighted showcases filled with every imaginable sweet never ceased to set my salivary juices running full tilt.
As elevators carried shoppers upstairs to the clothing department, an operator sat just inside the door. She pushed the buttons that propelled the cars between floors and opened the doors. When eager shoppers filled the car, the operator very pleasantly announced, “Going up” or “Going down” to let you know which direction she intended to take the car. As an elementary kid I watched with deep fascination as she moved all those people exactly where she said she was going.
One day when we disembarked, I looked up into my father’s face and said, “Daddy, when I grow up, I want to be an elevator girl.”
My very pragmatic father looked down at me with eyes that told me he didn’t think much of the idea and said, “Oh my dear, I hope you want to do something more important than just go up and down all your life.” Hmm, come to think of it, I probably would get bored pretty quickly. Adventure was in my DNA. Yes, Dad was right, I’d have to make a bigger impact on my world than just push repetitive buttons all day long.
How thankful I am for a godly parent who steered me toward a bigger picture and more important life goals which eventually led me to point people to an eternal destiny.
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)
Winnie Kaetzel is the author of Bending With the Bamboo, the memoirs of her family living in Laos during the Vietnam War, available on amazon.com. To contact Winnie, email firstname.lastname@example.org