In the 1920s you could send for about anything from Sears Roebuck & Co.–clothes, toys, food, player piano rolls. When living near Dexter, Iowa, Leora Wilson even ordered her first sewing machine from their thick mail-order catalog.
During the Depression years, Clabe Wilson and his older sons trapped animals for food and for their furs. After cleaning and stretching the pelts, they could be sent to Sears and traded for goods.
They ordered food in bulk–three gallon cans of sorghum, boxes of graham and white crackers, prunes, large jars of peanut butter, Karo molasses.
An order mailed to Sears in Kansas City, Missouri, on a Monday would arrive in Dexter “by return mail” on Wednesday.
Wilsons mixed Karo molasses with peanut butter to spread on bread–a handy sandwich to take in a school lunch.
For breakfast, they enjoyed graham pancakes with brown sugar syrup and butter, or brown sugar sprinkled on with cream. Once in awhile they’d have rice with brown sugar and cream. Mostly they breakfasted on oatmeal with raisins.
A big round box of oatmeal from Sears cost 17 cents–just the right size for 3-year-old Danny Wilson to try on.