Ask me what I like about living in Whitefish Bay and I'll give you the answers you would expect.
Great schools, friendly neighbors, well-maintained homes, these are a part of the 'Bay experience. These qualities are also part of many communities here on the north shore, and yes beyond.
But here in the Bay we have another bonus. At the east end of Silver Spring Drive anchoring the main street commercial district we have Winkies. I moved back to southeastern Wisconsin 30 years ago as the local "variety" stores were fading. Winkies and Drews were the only two I found still left in the area. And now only one remains.
But what a place! Is there a child's birthday party that hasn't been decorated or at least one gift purchased from the magical basement of Winkies? Need a condolence card or a hostess gift? Upstairs in the perrenially pretty upstairs you'll find both. Want candy for a sweet tooth from an old fashioned candy counter? There it is up front, past the Packer party gear and foam cheeseheads. Get the picture?
Yes, Winkies has been part of our lifestyle here on the north shore for more than three generations. Better yet, Winkies is a part of our community in the best sense of the word.This year, as they have been for four years ,Winkies is ground zero for Trees From Home, Inc. This project quite simply brings Christmas and holiday cheer to our servicemen and women stationed abroad. By sending minature decorated trees and small gifts in care packages to 2,000 troops serving over-seas, this project reaches beyond our neighborhood into the hearts of those serving our nation.
Beginning in early September, volunteers begin decorating and then gathering and packing the kits that will be mailed on Deployment Day, done fittingly on Veterans Day. In the past, the staff of our local North Shore US Post Office has come in on their day off to get the shipment on its way. It doesn't take much imagination to know how much these packages will mean to those who receive them. And yes, many who find a Tree from Home in their mail call have never been in Winkies or Whitefish Bay.
This year as we have in the past, my Juniors Woman's Club will be one of the groups providing time, and or money to this worthwhile cause. Did I mention the caring people who live in the 'Bay as a plus?
One Sunday afternoon in a past winter I was missing something I needed for something. Maybe it was a package of plastic forks for a party, or thread for a sewing job. But the clock was ticking and I did not have the time or energy to go the mall or whatever. My husband asked, "Did you check Winkies?" I told him no, I had been running all over but had not checked there. "Don't you know its like the holadeck on the Enterprise on Star Trek?"
The holadeck could be programmed to replicate any time or place a crew member wanted it to. Want shore leave to the old west, click, you're there. Need red thread for a zipper, cups for punch, twinkle lights?
"Stand outside Winkies for a minute, think really hard about what you need, and it will be inside, " my husband said. "Trust me."
And he was right. I asked the sales clerk and with a thoughtful look and a quick visit into the "back room" my wish was granted faster than you can say "Ali Ba Ba." So, when I think of all that we enjoy here in Whitefish Bay, I include the store on the corner of Silver Spring and Marlborough. Because, it caters to the child within as well as the adult. And because it extends it sense of community far beyond the 'Bay to folks who may have never been in our village but do so much for us all.