It's described in the opening sequence that Nora's mother is busy 'remaking' old clothes into new ones for her to wear on her first day of school. This first announcement of clothing may juxtapose and set the tone of renewal from old even though new beginnings are akin.
The walk Nora takes with her father down to the banks passing a desserted factory, a lumberyard and junkyards. The tramp they meet and the telling of how the great lakes were formed all suggest an essence of passing time; from beginning to end, old and new the premise of change is current.
In the context of the father taking his daughter, I believe since Jordan's daughter was showing signs of rebellion; breaking away from her mother's cloistered world, her father served as his daughter's mentor in this regard.
I would recommend this short story in the aspect that it's set in the 1930's during the aftermath or burn of 'The Great Depression'. This setting then gives a sight into what people suffered and lost during this era.
The underlying social concern really seems to be about the family's ability to cope with change, which ideally revealed in the eyes of the son and daughter of this story showing a healthy procession into lessons learnt in adulthood.