My aunt is an amazing woman. When I think of her one of the things I think “tropical fish.” But she had many interests and those interests were evident if you looked at the front window of her store. (Do you see the spelling mistake on the window?)

If you think of the Andy Griffith Show you may recall some scenes showing store fronts. I even recall one where the painter was painting a sign on a store window and Barney Fife managed to cause him to make a mess. Back in the 1950’s decorating a front window or advertising was done by having a painter paint the window. My aunt Vera gave me many pictures depicting many different advertisements and holiday messages.

The Pet Shop front window.

There are several things you can learn about my aunt from her signage. First of all, she raised her own canaries and she guaranteed they would sing. She provided products and services, shown in the balloons around the clown. For one she was advertising Dogs, Cats, Birds, Fish, Monkeys and Hamsters. Yes, she sold monkeys. The other sign says she provided grooming, clipping and bathing services for dogs.

The circus wagons you can see in the front window were built by my grandfather, Berger Winquist, Sr. He was a skilled carpenter. While my aunt could have just had him build cages, she went the extra mile and used the circus motif. There were many of these special cages in her store. To say that Aunt Vera loved the circus, animals and clowns would be an understatement.