Saturday Cinema and Lost Stores


The really great thing about having Granny live with us was the fact that every Saturday morning she would take us to the matinee at the local cinema. In those days before television, all movies on a Saturday morning were children’s fare. We spent many a Saturday morning losing ourselves in the magic of Walt Disney, and other assorted classics. We flew with “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,Bedknob and Broomsticks, lived in the fantasy world of The Gnome Mobile, were enthralled by Hello Dolly and many more” those were really the highlights of our weekend. 

We were always given our pocket money on Saturday morning during the normal tea time ritual, and moneys were deducted for bad behavior or disobedience’s that had taken place during the proceeding week. Those were the days that a children’s cinema ticket cost the amazing amount of five cents, and for ten cents you would get a large box of popcorn and a cold-drink. After the movies we would walk down to Basil’s Cafe, and buy our weeks supply of sweets, and then Granny would escort us to the N.B.S. Building society to deposit what was left. 

We always felt so special when they entered our deposits and stamped our little savings book. Neither of our parents ever accompanied us to the movies, Saturday was mothers shopping day, and she would shop for the weeks groceries from the independently owned run shops in the Parkview shopping center. Money only changed hands at the end of the month, and all purchases were written into little books. Butcher, Baker, Haberdashery, Green grocer, Fishmonger and general dealer all delivered at no extra cost. 

Milk and orange juice were delivered every morning by NCD dairy. We had a special milk box on the landing before the steps to the scullery at the back of the house where we placed the milk and juice bottles with the relevant coupons inside the respective bottles before we went to bed each evening. That was one of our chores. My earliest recollections are of the milkman delivering from a horse driven cart, but the horse was replaced by an electric cart not many years into my childhood. Today milk delivery is unheard of, and no supermarket will run a tab for their clients, the same supermarkets that promised lower prices and did not deliver in all meanings of the word, pushed the local trader out of business, and left the general population with no choice but to buy from them with what always seems like identically inflated prices. 

Not to accuse the supermarket chains in South Africa of price fixing, Heaven forbid. I cannot in any way blame the large supermarkets, only the people of South Africa who for a few cents less, turned their backs on the local grocer and forced them into the pages of history. There seems to be a revival of the convenience store, but they charge a premium, a much larger premium than the local grocer of old but without the service and trust that they held out to the public and were rebuffed. 

Hugs and more,



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