Archived Topics

Downtown store questions

Posted By: William Brainard <>
Date: Sunday, 2 December 2001, at 9:54 a.m.

When did Surplus Center and Todd's start up? I can remember various shoe stores on Main Street; Bruces, Ben's Eagle and others which have come and gone. After Rosen's went out of business, Surplus Center was the only place to get beech jackets, vests and hats. Think Ben's Eagle would give the customer a card and when it was full (after a dozen pairs of shoes) your 13th was free. 


Posted By: Scorpio <>
Date: Monday, 3 December 2001, at 1:54 a.m.

In Response To: Downtown store questions (William Brainard)

I believe that Sam and his brother opened the store in 1949 or 1950 with true army surplus items. It was a store filled with mysteries and items to stimulate and kindle the imaginations of all who crossed the portals. Sam proudly wore his motto on the breast pocket of his shirt for the world to see. Y.C.D.B.S.O.Y.A. Does anybody remember the meaning of this acronym? If you knew Sam, I'm sure you will remember, because he practiced it daily. 


Posted By: Va. <>
Date: Tuesday, 4 December 2001, at 10:56 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Downtown store questions (Scorpio)

Scorpio, I think that acronym was "You can't do business sitting on your A__". Sam is still going strong in his retirement and has not lost his insight into the human condition. A grand person and a great contributor to the fabric of Willimantic. 


Posted By: Scorpio <>
Date: Wednesday, 5 December 2001, at 12:18 a.m.

In Response To: Re: Downtown store questions (Va.)

Regarding the acronym, you're right on the button. I'm happy to hear that he is well and kicking. Sam must be in the center of his octogenerian decade. If you see him, tell him the kid who bought the bugle from him when he couldn't afford to buy a trumpet at the music store next door says hello. My glands still hurt when I think about it. 


Posted By: Ilene Sirovich Ordower <>
Date: Saturday, 26 January 2002, at 10:11 p.m.

In Response To: Downtown store questions (William Brainard)

What do you mean "downtown?" What's up with that word? In the fifties we called it "Downstreet." I think that word was very unique to Willi because I've never heard the word since. Is it still called "Downstreet". I love that word because when I was a kid in Willi I didn't know any different. 


Posted By: William Brainard <>
Date: Sunday, 27 January 2002, at 1:20 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Downtown store questions (Ilene Sirovich Ordower)

Coming from Coventry, we always went "down" to Willimantic; over to Mansfield and Columbia and in to Manchester. 


Posted By: rd <>
Date: Tuesday, 29 January 2002, at 3:45 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Downtown store questions (William Brainard)

William I think you are right on the mark. I think I remember going down to Norwich, New London; up to Storrs; and over to Manchester and Hartford. 

1 post missing

Posted By: Ethan <>
Date: Wednesday, 30 January 2002, at 8:31 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Downtown store questions (vadaro)

How things die from generation to generation, I never heard my Mother or Grandmother say Downstreet. Greatgrandmother was in a nursing home by the time I was born, so I never really got to know her. It makes a person wonder what other things that are known in the family that are never told and die away when that generation passes on. 


Posted By: dick <>
Date: Saturday, 9 February 2002, at 1:51 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Downtown store questions (vadaro)

My mother's family lived 'over' the river.and they went overstreet when they went shopping, or whatever.Does anyone else remember that expression? 


Posted By: Ron D
Date: Sunday, 10 February 2002, at 7:06 a.m.

In Response To: Re: Downtown store questions (dick)

Our family lived "over the river" as well. We never used the term, "overstreet" in reference to downtown. However, it certainly could have been a phrase used by many families.

We used to call it "downtown", just like the Petula Clarke record hit in the early sixties. Much of the sentiment of that song could be experienced there as well.

We kids would have 4 options to get there. In the car with Mom and Dad occasionally. The meandering footbridge, with its quieteness, fresh air and scenic views. The bridge between the American Thread buildings, where you'd have to hussle across the street because car traffic was difficult to see, due to the configuration of the crossing. But, the shortcut of choice for we younger ones, was to take the railroad tracks.

I never thought about the term "downtown" much. The "down" part of it may refer to the fact that a lot of the commercial areas of towns were in the vallies. I never did a study about that fact, but that is where the waterways would be most present, and that is the way it is in good old Windham. If you head north of the river you'll head to the hills of Mansfield. South will take you to the hills of Lebanon.

Hence, "Let's go downtown?" ? ? ?... Is that it? 


Posted By: vadaro <>
Date: Sunday, 10 February 2002, at 11:57 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Downtown store questions (Ron D)

You are so right. It is the same in Stafford Springs and it is also the same in Brattleboro, VT where I grew up. And for most of the towns along the Connecticut and other major rivers. 


Posted By: Scorpio <>
Date: Monday, 11 February 2002, at 7:31 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Downtown store questions (dick)

Yes, Dick! I remember quite well, both "downstreet" and "overstreet" being used by residents, depending upon their residence location. The "downstreet" users also used the term "upstreet" if they happened to be temporarily located at the eastern end of town, for any reason. That leads me to believe that it truly was a directional description more than anything else. "Overstreet" was a type of euphemism for "over the river," the way to Main Street.