The Metropolist

The Metropolist: At Woodies, Appreciating the Chance to Dress and Dine in Style

The downtown Woodies celebrated a major renovation in 1986.
The downtown Woodies celebrated a major renovation in 1986. (By Harry Naltchayan -- The Washington Post)
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By The Metropolist
Friday, September 11, 2009

Memories of the grande dame of Washington department stores, Woodward & Lothrop, continue for a second week.

I went on a shopping trip to Woodward & Lothrop with my beloved grandmother in the early 1950s. In the girls' department, I became completely absorbed with the pretty dresses on the rack -- not noticing that Nana had moved on to examine something else.

I came across an incredibly beautiful dress and began gushing over it. The very calm and sweet voice of the person now standing next to me agreed kindly that it was indeed lovely. And I still remember the shock of realizing that not only was my grandmother no longer standing next to me -- but also that I'd been speaking to the vice president's wife, Mrs. Richard M. Nixon.

-- Lynn C. French, Washington

At least once a year, my grandmother would come up from Dahlgren, Va., to buy pretty cotton voile dresses in the women's department, and then she, my aunt, my mother and I would head straight for the Tea Room to order scrumptious chicken pot pies. I also remember asking, on one occasion, for an intriguing dessert called floating island. It turned out to be a mouthwatering dish of creamy vanilla custard topped with a towering peak of fluffy meringue.

And who hasn't heard of Woodies' fabulous Christmas windows? The grayness of the day or the darkness of the evening and the raw chill in the air were totally forgotten as one gazed at those magical, glowing, fanciful scenes of animated characters drawn from fairy tales and famous children's books.

A trip to Woodies was rewarding and exciting, yes, but it was also a soothing, reassuring experience.

-- Peggy V. Burgess, Alexandria


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