Step Back in Time features news items from The Daily Star 25 and 50 years ago.
25 years ago
Nov. 26, 1988
Area shoppers kept local store managers and clerks busy on Friday, the traditional first day of Christmas shopping.
“It’s been crazy,” said Ruth Tennant, a sales clerk at the jewelry counter at J.C. Penney in the Southside Mall in Oneonta. The counter has been busy because of featured sales items and the holiday season.
“A lot of people are thinking about Christmas now,” she said.
Friday was a good start to what merchants said they expected to be at least as good a year as last year. While stores in other parts of the nation carried limited selections and encountered shortages of hot-selling items, local managers said they weren’t holding back on inventory for the holiday season.
Items in great demand by local consumers included Nintendo video games and equipment, Barbie dolls and “salad shooters,” reflecting in part a national desire this season for designer and cashmere sweaters, leather goods and compact disk players.
“We’re looking for a good season and today looks like it’s starting off in that direction,” said Marc Bresee, vice-president of Bresee’s Oneonta Department Store.
Between 80 and 100 shoppers were waiting outside for the K mart in Sidney to open at 7 a.m. Friday, said store manager Don Hughes.
K mart, with thousands of discount stores, book shops and drug stores nationwide, expects holiday sales to run about six percent ahead of last year.
Su Peifer of Harpersfield usually buys all her gifts on sales during the year and has her Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving.
She said she’s spending less on gifts now than in the past, in part because her family has grown and she hasn’t had an inflationary raise in five years.
50 years ago
Nov. 26, 1963
Two groups of Oneontans — numbering eight persons altogether — went to Washington Sunday to pay tribute to the late President John F. Kennedy.
To one group, Mr. and Mrs. James M. Friery, 140 East St., and their three children, Patricia, 15, Michael, 12, and Mark, 6, “it was a very, very wonderful thing to see.”
To the other group, “it was a disappointment” because they were unable to get into the Capitol rotunda. Making the trip in this group were Raymond Cameron, 17, of 3 Lewis Dr., Gary Johnson, 18, of 11 Pearl St., and James Gillette, 17, of 6 Pearl St.
Asked what impressed the family most, Mrs. Friery replied immediately: “The awe of the people — the real devotion of some of the people we talked with in the crowd.
“We could also see Mrs. Kennedy’s car quite clearly. Caroline was standing beside her mother and the little boy (John Jr.) was sitting on Bob Kennedy’s lap.
“Something else impressed us, but had little to do with the Kennedy ceremonies. A car of teenagers or young men had been stopped by 12 policemen. They were searched, held at gunpoint, then taken into custody. I don’t know the reason.
“We felt these things were history in the making and that it was a wonderful thing for our children to see it,” Mrs. Friery summed up.