This is much the way Austin looked when I was a kid. One of my strong memories is shopping downtown on Friday nights—the only night of the week when the stores remained open until 9 pm. Walking by the shoe store one Friday night (see it on the left) I spotted a pair of navy blue leather shoes that I wanted. I was in sixth grade. At that time in my life, I made money two ways: my allowance and babysitting. I remember those shoes costing $12, which was a lot of money for me. Well, I saved and saved, and bought those shoes. This shoe store had an xray machine that looked like this:
One would stand on the little step, insert one foot while wearing the new shoe, and then look through the viewer at the top. The clerk looked through the viewer at the back. You were instructed to wiggle your toes so the clerk could see if the shoes fit or were too tight. For obvious reasons, this machine was outlawed.
The store next door to the shoe store was one of my favorites. It was the Austin Candy Store and Cafe. It was owned by a Greek family, and the candy they made was delicious! They had relatives who had candy stores in Owatonna, Faribault, and Dinky Town in Minneapolis. It was always fun to go into the Cafe for treat with my mother and then get to pick out a piece of chocolate.