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The Metropolist

Former Employees' Memories of Woodward & Lothrop

In its day, Woodies was
In its day, Woodies was "the" department store in Washington. (By James M. Thresher -- The Washington Post)
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By The Metropolist
Friday, October 2, 2009

We've published dozens of memories of Woodies. Here are some from and about people who worked there.

In the summer of 1945, when I was 15, I got a job at Woodies at 11th and F. In those days, Woodies was "the" department store and very conscious of its status. All the staff wore black and white, no colors to distract the customers.

As I did not deal with the public because I was working in the payroll department on the top floor, I could wear my proper school clothes to work, but my mother had to make a neutral colored smock for me to wear on my way to work inside the building. I had to be suitably drab on the off chance that a customer might see me as I entered by the rear door and took the employee's elevator!

Woodies's staff was so nice to me, and I was happy to earn my salary of $25 for a 40 hour week. I was entitled to eat in the employees' cafeteria, but I sometimes went across the street to the Peoples Drug Store and ate at their lunch counter, just for a change.

-- Pat Ward, Annandale

During high school, I worked Saturdays at the big Woodward & Lothrop downtown. Since this was not a permanent job, I was placed in whatever department was in most need of help. That turned out to be the bakery department on my first day.

Wearing a crisp white uniform and a beaming smile, I stood behind the glass showcase and sold cookies, cakes and pastries. Mid-afternoon, a gentleman selected a beautifully decorated birthday cake, the only birthday cake left at that point. I reached in and removed it from the showcase, unfortunately scraping the top of the cake along the bottom of the glass shelf above it, which transformed the lovely icing into a miserable and hopeless mess. That was my last day in the bakery department, but Woodies managed to keep me on all summer, selling chinaware, girdles, international gifts and women' shoes.

-- Mae Scanlan, Washington

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