Sears Roebuck Catalog

Our farm was located in an isolated area, our nearest neighbors at least a quarter mile away.  It was not uncommon for us to go several days and not see any one who was not a family member.  Sometimes not a single automobile would pass our house for a week.  There was no radio, television, or magazine subscriptions.  We did take a daily paper, but except for this we never saw clothing, furniture, or other items that were available.

Our trips to Oneonta were rare.  If you couldn't buy something, there was no need to visit the stores.  Because of this vacuum of information, the arrival of the Sears Roebuck Catalog was a significant event.  Sears automatically sent us catalogs whenever one was printed.  We would get a large annual catalog, the catalogs for spring, fall, etc., and supplements when produced.

One day in the summer of 1936, my brother and I left home and had the job of looking after our little brother who was six months old.  Probably out of boredom, one of us walked the quarter mile to the mail box and, to our delight, found a new Sears Catalogue.  It was brought to the house and placed on the kitchen table.  Our little brother was also placed on the table, sitting with his back near the table end.  As we looked with amazement at the wonders in the book, my little brother unexpectedly moved and fell over backwards toward the floor.  My older brother moved quickly and was able to grab his leg just above the ankle.  Our standard joke for many years was “I sure do wish we had caught you so your head would have not hit the floor.”

For us, buying from the Sears Catalog through the mail was a great convenience.  It required no travel, and the merchandise arrived at our mailbox.  We also used the information as a gauge of what a fair price should be for both new and used items.  And thanks to the outhouse, even and old catalog was useful.

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