Saturday, March 29, 2008

Girls' Day Out

Yesterday, Emily and I decided it was time to take a break from all of our Spring Break activies (i.e. shed cleaning, attic cleaning, gargage cleaning) and go shopping! We headed out to the mall for a "girls' day." It was a perfectly lovely day. We browsed our way through some of the department stores, stopped at Mrs. Field's for cookies and then sat in the massage chairs and got back massages for $1. Then we went through the pet shop and oohed and aahed over all the puppies. We bought new earrings, new sandals and then went for pedicures. We had lunch at the food court and window shopped for some spring clothes, but didn't buy any yet.

I remember being Emily's age and shopping with my mom at the then-brand new mall in the next town from where we lived. It was The Coolest Mall. It had JC Penney, Sears and a lovely department store called The Denver, originally The Denver Dry Goods Company. The mall also had two fabric stores, Baker's Shoes and Kinney's Shoes, a Woolworth's with a lunch counter, Walden Bookstore and several specialty gift shops. As often as we went to the mall and as many times as we walked up oneside and down the other, we probably traveled the distance to the moon and back.

The fabric stores were our favorite haunts -- House of Fabrics and So-Fro Fabrics. From the time I was in 4th grade, I was sewing my own clothes and my mother sewed everything from curtains to suits for herself to sleeping bags and tents for my brothers. (The latter from a company called Frostline that was headquartered in our little town. They sold the kits in their stores, but my brothers would sometimes dig through their dumpsters and get the rejects! Free camping stuff!)

But I digress. This was before the concept of "food courts" at the mall, so for lunch we would stop at Woolworth's, get a booth for two and squeeze in with all of our shopping bags, the paper bags crackling loudly as we piled them high or stuck them under the table. I would usually order an egg salad sandwich and a Coke, and Mom would have a club sandwich and cup of tea. Dessert was a sundae in a tall, tulip-shaped sundae dish.

It was always fun to shop at Woolworth's. Mom like the notions department. My favorite was the record section in the back of the store.

We almost always stopped at Sears to pick up or return something from the catalog department. I think my mother lived there at Christmas time. When the Sears catalog arrived at our house, my brothers and I would search through the pages until they were tattered and worn, circling our favorite toys and marking them with our initials.

At Christmas, the mall was beautiful, dressed in all its finery. A huge Christmas tree with ornaments the size of basketballs graced the center. Santa held court at one end and gift wrapping station took up most of the other.

When The Denver department store closed its doors, that was the beginning of the end for "our mall." A newer mall had sprung up in the next town, twice as big. Eventually, the older mall was torn down and honestly, the day I drove by and saw the wrecking ball, I cried. I ask you, is there anything that is sadder than the death of a mall?


Jen said...

Same exact story in my town even down to the egg salad sandwich. I went with my mom to Woolworth's too.I think most little girls did. I loved it there..I always got a root beer float though. Our mall wasn't torn down it turned into a Super Walmart and Silk Tree Factory....I still visit over there once a week. But the memories of a 9 year old with mom shopping on those for my trip down memory was nice.

annie said...

Sounds like a really sweet day together!

Becky said...

What great memories you brought back for me. I am my mama's only daughter and I have no daughters of my own. I don't like to shop when I have to go out and buy something I need. I like to shop the way you and Emily did ... just for fun and the joy of spending a day with my friend.

I usd to love Woolworth's too. And they are building a new mall (with a Kohl's FINALLY!) in our town, and turning the old mall into part of the Junior College. Progress they call it.

My favorite haunt was the Velvet Freeze. We'd have sandwiches there too, and top them off with a sundae or an ice cream cone. Yummy memories!

Boomeyers said...

My mom did not like the mall, but my Grandma, now there is a mall girl! I loved Woolworths too, so much to see! Ahhh, thanks for bringing back some good memories!

Xandra said...

What wonderful memories from your childhood! In years to come, your own daughter will be able to share stories of your shopping adventures together and that is a beautiful legacy.


BClark said...

I remember the lunch counters and our first mall. It was Colonial Plaza and by today's standards it would have been pretty much a strip mall. We were used to going downtown to shop and here were all these new stores in what had been a cow pasture. Of course, Orlando is now wall to wall stores of all shapes and sizes, but in the mid 50's that was big time. Laughing about you spotting the tube tops, I cringe when I think of wearing them,lol. Best to you, Barbara

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Such wonderful memories! My mom didn't like to shop and I can rarely, if ever, remember going with her to anywhere. If we had a Woolworths here, I didn't know about it, but it sounds good and fun :) We did have a Sears and I can remember salivating when we got the catalog at Christmas, but I didn't usually get anything from it. Such a pathetic childhood I had, what little I can remember :)

I enjoyed your memories though, and it's so wonderful that you're making such great memories with your daughter these days :)

Have a wonderful week!

Judy said...

My mother didn't get her driver's license until I got mine, so whenever I was sick as a child and needed to see the doctor, we went by city bus.

I always feel a wee bit sick when I remember going into Woolworth's to get out of the cold, rain, snow or what-have-you.

Fun times, that.

I loved reading this. Memories are so cool.

Robin said...

What sweet memories!
And a mall with TWO fabric stores? Now that would be heaven for sure.

Karen said...

Your childhood sounds very much like mine. We would shop the three food stores on every Friday and eat lunch at the Woolworth's lunch counter. Thanks for bringing back such great memories!

kris said...

Sounds like a lovely girls' day out. And it brought back memories for me too - My mom always stopped at Woolworth's for iced tea and a sweet treat on a shopping outing. Did you ever have Woolworth's cheesecake? I have a good story about it - and I guess instead of taking up all of your space (!) I should maybe turn it into a post of my own! Thanks for the memories.

justabeachkat said...

What sweet memories! And they brought back memories for me too. Great post.


gail@more than a song said...

Sounds like y'all had fun!
I'm back from my daughters house and trying to recuperate...we shopped for fabric and were underwhelmed with the one store we could find close to her. I was so hoping for something better but we would have had to drive lots further away and it wasn't happening with 2 little ones!

Bill said...

I'm glad you had a girls' day with your daughter. Building her memory bank, and sharing yours with us.

We had Pembroke Mall in Virginia Beach, and we had never seen anything like it. Going from store to store heedless of the weather! It had a fountain with turquoise tile in the middle of the mall. Ooh la la.

Club sandwiches at Woolworth's were the ultimate. And remember hot roast beef sandwiches with mashed potatoes, smothered with gravy?

Tristi Pinkston said...

Thanks for your positive feedback, Karen. You made my day!

Kim said...

What a lovely post,Karen. It brought me back to my old fashioned memories of the mall I grew up shopping at. It is called Northgate and from what I have always heard, it was one of the first ever covered/enclosed malls! There was a Woolworths at that mall for many many years, and a fabric store--those are long gone now though and the mall is constantly being upgraded--it is a mega mall now. My mom lives about 10 minutes away from it, so we usually meet there for lunch on our birthdays.
What a special day, filled with special memories for you and Emily!