Mildred Wallner discovered a whole new world as she ventured into the downtown Minneapolis Marshall Field’s store on Wednesday. "It wasn’t this pretty when I worked here, just gorgeous now," she observed.
The 89-year-old Twin Cities woman worked at the store for 32 years before retiring. It was Dayton’s back then, and in the fall, the store will become Macy’s.
Kale Wallner, Mildred’s grandson, wanted her to see the store, "one last time and hear some stories" before the next change occurs. "My grandma lost my grandpa about a year ago, they were married 65 years." He told us. And after undergoing a couple of hip surgeries and the loss of her two surviving brothers, the devoted grandson decided to help his grandmother take a stroll down memory lane.
Marshall Field’s store manager, Bill Sprattler, helped escort Mildred through the house wares department. She told him, "I’d be really proud to work here, listen to me, work here again." "We could probably find a spot for you here," replied Sprattler.
Mildred worked in the department she calls "pots and pans." She sold CorningWare back in the 70s and she recalled that there was fierce competition for getting the sale. "It was a challenge", she said. "You know, you were competing with the other girls, we all had things we had to strive towards…push, push, push."
When asked about her best memories of her working years, Mildred didn’t hesitate. "I liked meeting all the nice people. And you know, some of the people I worked with, I still see some of them."
Following the tour, Mildred joined some family members for lunch at the famed Oak Grill. "I have lots of happy memories of meeting friends here, too."
By Pat Evans, KARE 11 News
(Copyright 2006 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)