On Shopping Malls

I came of age in a mall. Working my part time job at a now defunct towel and drapery store called Homemaker Shop. My best friend worked at an anchor store which was called May Company (quick who knows what city I am from?). It became, I believe, LS Ayers and eventually turned into Macy’s like all of them. She sold lamps. We both had to dress in skirts and blouses. Another friend stocked shoes next door at Kinney Shoes and yet another worked at a fast food steak place called York Steak House, which had a big “no tipping” sign at the door. We met on breaks at Orange Julius or maybe across the parking lot at a popular restaurant called The Ground Round. We ate a lot of pizza and ice cream and played Ms. Pac Man. And we shopped, a lot. We tried on make-up at the Clinique counter, and we went to lots of movies. This was before Starbucks and Game Stops and pre-teen stores like Hot Topic and Justice. We went to Spencer’s for lava lamps and posters and fart jokes. We ripped fake plants out of their planters and squeezed into photo booths and raced around empty parking lots when the mall closed. One year, at Christmas time, this desperate lady who ran the Christmas stocking booth hired a friend and me to write kids names on stockings in glue and glitter. I pity all the poor kids who got my sloppy left handed hook scrawl on their stockings that year. I am sure Santa didn’t know Sally from Susie. I got a free elf hat for all my efforts. Another time we went into a furniture department and cozied up on beds and began to read the prop books they had on display, playacting from corny old stories about farmers and their wives.

So, I have this real fondness for the mall of my youth. I don’t go in them unless I have to any more. (They give me a headache which I have deemed mall ache.) but the ghosts of all my best peeps and me when we were young and stupid and thought time was endless hang out there. Sometimes, when I am quiet, I can see them.

Amy for the PGM

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