To the editor:
Thursday was a nice day to be outside working in the garden ... cool, breezy, the sky a perfect blue.
I was thirsty after the morning’s work and thought I’d treat myself to a cool drink at one of our local cafes. Suddenly, memories of sitting at Woolworth’s soda fountain were unfolding in my mind, and I wished once more that Lawrence still had its old “five and dime” stores. I wanted to go sit at the old soda fountain; I paid a bit more and went to “The Roost.”
I needed a few personal items, a spool of white thread and some inexpensive curtain rods for a playroom. I would have loved to walk into Woolworth’s or Duckwalls downtown to make all of those purchases. I went to Walmart instead. Then there was the ice cream and gallon of milk I would have enjoyed purchasing at our now long-empty downtown grocery at 11th and Mass., the A&P. Instead, because I live two blocks from downtown and currently choose not to drive, I rode the bus to Dillons’ grocery at 18th and Mass. The last was the best of the compromises I made.
People have often asked “So, do you like living close to downtown?” and are consistently surprised by my reply. Once, my answer would have been and was an enthusiastic “Yes!!” My answer now is really a question: Why isn’t our downtown for us? Equally interesting: If developers do succeed in filling up the expensive high-rise apartments and condominiums with more downtown residents, they, like all of us who already live here, will still need to shop at Walmart for the important things.