Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

Hello and goodbye Washington

February 25, 2015
Washington, Iowa

To the Editor: This is a farewell to my wonderful little hometown.
I was born here in 1937, raised here in the ‘40s and ‘50s, when life here was sweet. Safe and sound, that was Washington then. Nobody locked their doors unless they were going out of town.
I have a few memories to share with those of you who were here then.
Winga’s: Remember Sunday mornings, after church, waiting with the rest of the town for a booth? Sitting in the front looking out of the steam-filled windows at Central Park all covered in snow. Waiting for your booth so you could sit and eat your chicken and ice cream scooped mashed potatoes and gravy. Yummy! And so cozy! Or how about a delicious Maid-Rite with a package of Sterzing’s and a cold Coke?
Or go over to Lackey’s for a beautiful salad. What a cook he was!
Anybody remember Hattie’s little box car café on the alley behind the bank on West Washington Street? Best hamburger ever!
And what about the caramel apples at the Chocolate Shop? Mom used to say, “Slip in, buy your apple, don’t look around and slip out.”
Then just around the corner from the Chocolate Shop was Mr. Kelly’s popcorn stand. You could smell it all the way to the band concert in Central Park. And after the concert you could watch the colored fountain. Glorious! Remember?
I remember Sunset Park and taking my sled in the winter. So much fun. And in the summer, don’t forget to take your bread wrapper to make the slide go faster. All the family reunions we had in Sunset Park with fried chicken and potato salad and homemade ice cream. Heaven! I still make that great potato salad.
So many “firsts” in Washington: First swim at the YMCA pool. I can still smell that chlorine. First kiss. First love. First ride in a convertible around the square as a Homecoming Princess! What a thrill!
This town and the people in it and my parents gave me a level floor to stand on to start my life. Oh sure, I’ve slipped and slid around in life like all of us, but, I’ve managed to stay upright and I’m grateful. Grateful to have grown up here where you taught me well.
I’ve moved my ailing mother to California with us and now my business is finished. I just want to say a sweet goodbye to all of you who have shared my timeline in Washington and to say “thanks for the memories.”

Best wishes to you all.
Sandi Jones Baird